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Peru Travel Advisory

Travel advisory november 15, 2023, peru - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to crime information.

Exercise increased caution due to  crime, civil unrest, and the possibility of kidnapping . Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • The Colombian-Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region due to  crime .
  • The Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM), including areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin, due to  crime  and  terrorism .

Country Summary : Crime, including petty theft, carjackings, muggings, assaults, and other violent crime, is common in Peru and can occur during daylight hours despite the presence of many witnesses. Kidnapping is rare, but does occur. The risk of crime increases at night. Organized criminal groups have been known to use roadblocks to rob victims in areas outside of the capital city of Lima.

Demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country. Public demonstrations can take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations can cause the shutdown of local roads, trains, and major highways, often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines. Road closures may significantly reduce access to public transportation and airports and may disrupt travel both within and between cities.

U.S. travelers participating in Ayahuasca and Kambo ceremonies should be aware that numerous persons, including U.S. citizens, have reported that while under the influence of these substances, they have witnessed or been victims of sexual assault, rape, theft, serious health problems and injuries, and even death.

Currently, U.S. government personnel cannot travel freely throughout Peru for security reasons . Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Peru.

If you decide to travel to Peru:

  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans as needed.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Review the U.S. Embassy  webpage .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Peru.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel.

Colombian-Peruvian border area in the Loreto Region – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limits the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling within 20 kilometers of the border with Colombia in the Loreto region, except on the Amazon River itself, without permission. This includes travel on the Putumayo River, which forms most of the Peru-Colombia border.

U.S. government personnel must receive advance permission for any travel to the Peruvian-Colombian border.

Valley of the Apurímac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) includes areas within the Departments of Ayacucho, Cusco, Huancavelica, and Junin – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group are active in the VRAEM. The group may attack with little or no warning, targeting Peruvian government installations and personnel.

Drug trafficking and other criminal activity, combined with poor infrastructure, limit the capability and effectiveness of Peruvian law enforcement in this area.

U.S. government personnel are restricted from traveling in the VRAEM except for certain areas during daylight hours. U.S. government personnel must receive advance permission for any travel to the VRAEM. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens due to these travel restrictions.

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

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Everything you need to know before traveling to Lima

Agnes Rivera

Nov 8, 2023 • 7 min read

Lima, Peru - March 10, 2019: Colorful buildings and street art at the Callao Monumental ; Shutterstock ID 1424973962; your: Claire Naylor; gl: 65050; netsuite: Online editorial ; full: Best museums Lima

It pays to time it right when planning a trip to Lima © Mark Green / Shutterstock

Fronting onto a rugged stretch of shoreline, Lima is often used as a stepping stone to reach bucket-list sites such as Machu Picchu , but the capital of Peru has become a destination in its own right.

This bustling city more than makes up for its chaotic traffic and humdrum weather with out-of-this-world cuisine, dramatic coastal views and outstanding museums.

We'd say the capital of Peru has a lot going for it — an almost overwhelming amount. To help you make the most of your trip to the City of Kings (and simplify your trip planning) here are a few useful things to know before traveling to Lima. 

Lima is one of the less well-known cities in the Americas, so it helps to know what to expect. Here are some tips for planning a trip.

Looking over Plaza San Martín (St Martin's Sq), Lima, Peru, in the late afternoon

1. Be prepared for gray skies

This is a heads up for those who suffer from seasonal mood swings in drab weather – don't assume this coastal Latin American capital is the land of sunshine.

For every month of the year outside of Peru’s summer season (January to March), the skies over Lima are consistently gray. This can be a huge disappointment for unsuspecting visitors – and can wear down even those prepared for this quirk of the Lima weather.

Keep this in mind when planning the timing of a trip to Lima . On the plus side, the Peruvian capital is dry nearly all year round and you can stay active on the malecón (waterfront esplanade) to keep your energy levels and mood up.

If you are in dire need of Vitamin D, consider a day trip down south to Pachacamac or a weekend trip to Reserva Nacional de Paracas where the sun is more likely to make an appearance.

2. Download a rideshare app for easy trips around Lima

Lima sprawls over numerous widely-spread districts, so you may spend a good chunk of time commuting. Though there are a handful of cheap and accessible ways to get around Lima, your best bet is to rely on a respectable rideshare app such as Uber or Cabify .

Even if you have a decent level of Spanish or are traveling in a group, the risk of theft or getting scammed when taking an unmarked taxi off the street in Lima is not worth the few soles (Peru’s official currency) difference in price.

A man observes art on display in a public park, Lima, Peru

3. Base yourself in a district that suits your interests in Lima

There are so many great neighborhoods in Lima , each with its own unique personality and attributes, and with the sprawling nature of the city, it pays to stay close to the things you want to see.

Do a bit of research to discover the best neighborhood in Lima for you – some areas are better for people traveling with children, while others appeal to travelers looking to keep to a budget or those seeking a taste of local nightlife.

Most tourists stay in the hip district of Barranco or centrally-located Miraflores, and for good reason. But less-visited districts such as Pueblo Libre or Magdalena del Mar can also woo you with their top museums and authentic vibe.

4. Consider distance and traffic when organizing your day-to-day itinerary

Sprawling across more than 1000 sq miles, Lima is the largest city in Peru and one of the five most populous cities in South America. While many of the most touristed districts are close neighbors, some of the best things to do and see in Lima are on opposite sides of the city.

Don’t waste a chunk of your visit to Lima commuting. Instead, invest a bit of pre-travel time in mapping out what each district has to offer, so you can plan your days based on activities and sights that are close to one another.

For example, it's a good idea to pair gallery visits in Barranco with lunch or dinner in a Miraflores restaurant or a trip to Pueblo Libre’s incredibly thorough and informative Museo Larco with a drink at the same district’s famed Queirolo pisco bar.

Customer paying for vegetables at an organic market called "bioferia" in Parque Reducto, Miraflores district

5. Don’t haggle excessively and keep cash handy

Speaking of respect for local culture, let’s talk about haggling. Many tour agencies encourage travelers to bargain for better prices, reassuring them that it is simply part of the Peruvian culture.

However, while it is common in Lima markets to see vendors and buyers discussing a better price, there is a point where arguing hard for a cheaper price becomes disrespectful.

Many of the artisans in Lima come from the highlands or tropical lowlands – distant regions where it is difficult to earn a steady income and the quality of life is much lower than in the cities and most countries tourists come from.

Unless you can be sure that the vendor is charging an extortionate amount, consider settling for a slightly higher than the locals price to help support local families.

Also keep in mind that many small businesses, as well as independent artisans, will only accept cash and they may not have change, so carry plenty of small bills.

6. Learn a few basic Spanish words and phrases for easier travels

A quick search on Facebook will turn up links to numerous groups of English-speaking expats who fell in love with Peru and set up a base in Lima, but the vast majority of locals do not speak fluent English.

Thankfully, rideshare apps do away with the need to give detailed directions to taxi drivers, and purchases in markets can often be negotiated with just some creative gesturing.

However, to fit in, and reduce the chances of being scammed, learning a few phrases in Spanish is a good way to express your respect for locals and be less of an outsider in this strongly Spanish-speaking city.

Many locals will give a passing greeting of qué tal (how are you?) or buen dia (good day), and doing so yourself will put a smile on people's faces.

Knowing your numbers is also helpful when it comes to paying a fair price – prices may be hiked for those who only speak English.

Fresh scallops, Peruvian style, on a plate

7. Trust your gut instinct when eating street food

Picarones (squash and sweet potato fried donuts), anticuchos (skewered beef heart), emoliente (a thick herbal drink served piping hot) – the list of tempting street food options in Lima goes on and on.

And while the foods served on the sidewalks of Lima provide a delicious, budget-friendly way to sample the flavors of Peru , your stomach may not be on board with the lax (sometimes non-existent) sanitary standards employed by street vendors. 

When choosing whether to eat from a street food stall, go with your instincts. Back home, you wouldn’t eat from a place that has more flies than customers, or from a cook who doesn't wash their hands or use gloves for food prep, so don’t risk it in Lima.

Another important rule of thumb for newcomers is to satiate your craving for ceviche in a proper restaurant; uncooked fish on the street is a fast track to a stomach bug.

8. Follow big-city safety precautions to avoid theft in Lima

Lima is a fairly safe destination for tourists when it comes to serious crime – but that doesn’t mean it's a good idea to walk around town at dusk with your camera or a shiny new phone on display. As with any large city, opportunistic crime, especially theft, is prevalent in Lima.

To avoid losing a precious valuable item, be street smart and aware of your immediate environment. Don’t leave your purse, bag or phone in the seat next to you while riding in a taxi or a public bus, and avoid walking around with your wallet on obvious display in your back pocket.

Phone snatching in the street is another problem. Don't be too shy to ask for directions or to use a paper map as opposed to carrying your phone in front of you as a digital map, especially in neighborhoods less frequented by tourists. 

9. Tips for staying safe as a solo woman in Lima

Lima is generally safe for female solo travelers. Be cautious (as, unfortunately, we always have to be) of eager offers of rides from drivers of unmarked taxis or free rounds of drinks at the bar, and avoid walking alone at night, particularly in quiet parts of town.

For safety in numbers, find a like-minded traveler from your hostel (or reach out to expat residents on Facebook groups) to join you on outings.

This article was first published Apr 4, 2022 and updated Nov 8, 2023.

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Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

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Is Peru Safe to Visit?

Skyline of Arequipa in Peru, with a historic church and palm trees in the foreground and a volcano in the background

Last Updated: 8/25/2023 | August 25th, 2023

Peru , the third-largest country in South America, and before the pandemic, was receiving over four million visitors each year .

Whether it’s to visit Machu Picchu , the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Lines, or the vibrant capital city of Lima and its blossoming food scene, people are flocking to Peru in droves.

It’s a gorgeous country so that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

However, I also often hear and read about tourists getting mugged or their things being stolen. I get worried emails from travelers wondering if Peru is safe to visit due to political unrest.

Today, I want to answer their questions:

Is it safe to visit Peru? What do you need to look out for? What precautions do you need to take?

In this post, I’ll share everything you need to know to safely visit Peru.

Table of Contents

11 Safety Tips for Peru

  • Is Machu Picchu Safe?
  • Is Peru Safe to Travel Alone?
  • Is it Safe to Travel to Peru with Kids?
  • Is Peru Safe for Female Travelers?
  • Can You Drink the Tap Water in Peru?
  • Are Taxis Safe in Peru?

How Safe is Lima?

In general, Peru is a safe place to visit. You’re not going to get kidnapped or murdered there. But Peru does require you to be a bit more vigilant than other destinations. There is a lot of petty crime, especially among those who are careless, leave valuables around, and walk around at night without a second thought.

Here are some tips to help you plan and prepare for a safe visit to Peru:

1. Avoid displaying any expensive belongings – Keep your jewelry out of sight (or even leave it at home). Don’t flaunt valuables. Be especially aware of taking out your phone, as phone theft is rampant ( over 4,000 phones are reported stolen every day ). Don’t even wear AirPods on the street. In short: always keep an eye on your stuff. Minimizing the target on your back that says, “I’m carrying a lot of valuable stuff” is very important.

2. Be aware of thieves or muggers working in pairs or small groups – The trick of distracting you (for example, someone “accidentally” bumping into you, or a group of kids playing or fighting near you) is often used so that an accomplice can rob you while you’re not paying attention to your belongings. Don’t fall for distractions and keep your guard up. A common type of theft is where two men on a motorbike pull up to you, snatch your bag, and drive off, so be especially aware of motorbikes and don’t walk on the sidewalk right next to the road.

3. Keep an eye on your belongings at all times – In crowded places or on public transit, be aware that thieves could be looking to literally pick your pocket or slash your bag. Keep some small bills in a separate pocket, so that when you’re paying for things, you don’t need to put your whole wallet or purse on display.

4. Keep your valuables separate – When you’re going out for the day, leave some credit cards and cash locked in your accommodation. That way, if you lose your wallet, you’ll still have cash and cards back at your hostel. In general, it’s a good idea to make photocopies of your passport to take with you and lock up your passport in your hostel locker. Keep digital copies of your passport in your email inbox too just in case.

5. Download the Prey app to your phone and laptop – If either device gets stolen, you’ll be able to track it and remotely turn on your camera to photograph the thief (you can also wipe the data and message the thief too). It costs just $1.10/month.

6. Avoid traveling alone at night – There have been incidents of people being mugged as they leave a taxi at night in the cities, and repeated reports of bandit activity after dark in some areas, such as Tingo María, northwest of Lima, at the entrance to the Tingo María National Park. Try to travel with friends or other travelers at night as there is safety in numbers.

7. Choose a reputable bus operator – Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the best one. Some of the cheap bus companies have the most reckless drivers and lots of breakdowns, and since Peru has some of the world’s worst traffic accident rates, you’re usually safer using a slightly pricier bus company. Some of the most reputable bus operators include Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, Civa, and Movil Tours.

8. Don’t use drugs – Since Peru produces a lot of cocaine, tourists (especially young backpackers) tend to do a lot of it here. It’s not worth the risk, however, since if authorities even suspect you of using drugs, you can be detained for up to 15 days. Buying drugs here supports organized crime, so be smart and skip the drugs.

9. Learn some Spanish – Being able to speak some basic Spanish will help you in many situations, but if you get in trouble and need help, then you’ll really appreciate it. Start with an app like Duolingo to master some basic vocabulary . Google Translate app is also a must-have app (download the Spanish language to your phone so you can translate offline).

10. Be careful in the coca-growing areas – In the Huallaga Valley north of Tingo María, cocaine is still being produced. And in the same area in recent years, the Shining Path group (a communist revolutionary organization) has been part of some violent incidents. Although tourists are not generally targeted by drug traffickers or Shining Path members, you still need to be extra vigilant in these areas.

11. Buy travel insurance – Things can go wrong on the road. That’s why I never go anywhere without travel insurance. From theft to injuries to delayed flights, travel insurance is there to ensure you don’t go broke. It’s just a couple bucks a day (often less) and provides peace of mind. Don’t travel here without it!

I recommend SafetyWing for travelers under 70, while Insure My Trip is the best choice for travelers over 70.

You can use this widget to get a quote for SafetyWing:

For more information on travel insurance, check out these posts:

  • What Does Travel Insurance ACTUALLY Cover?
  • The Best Travel Insurance Companies
  • How to Buy the Best Travel Insurance

With these travel tips, you’ll be able to stay safe while you visit or backpack around Peru! Furthermore, here are answers to some frequently asked questions we get.  

Is Machu Picchu safe?

Machu Picchu is such a common tourist destination that you’ll most likely be safer here than any other part of Peru. Chances are you’ll be hiking with a group or in a crowd, so pickpockets and other petty thieves are unlikely to be around. It’s much more important to be vigilant in cities like Lima or Cusco.

The more important safety issue if you are hiking to Machu Picchu is to take care of your health. Make sure you have plenty of water, and use sunscreen and hats to deal with the heat. If you’re not acclimatized to the altitude, then altitude sickness can be a problem; you need to take it seriously if you start to feel sick. Avoid this by staying in Cusco for at least a couple of days before visiting Machu Picchu.

Finally, if you use a guide, which is recommended when hiking, make sure they are a licensed operator, as you sometimes hear of unlicensed guides taking you the wrong route and keeping your hiking permit payment for themselves.  

Is Peru safe to travel alone?

Solo travel is pretty common in Peru, and you’ll often find plenty of other solo backpackers to spend time with, so it’s unlikely you’ll be alone that much.

Bus travel and being out after dark anywhere is safer in a group, but in general, solo travel in Peru is no more dangerous than traveling with friends or a partner.

Just remember to avoid standing out and looking like a tourist. Don’t dress in fancy clothes, don’t wave your expensive gadgets around, and if you get lost, don’t stand there staring at a map. Basically, avoid sticking out like a sore thumb, and you’ll reduce the chance of a petty thief deciding you’re their next victim.  

Is it safe to travel to Peru with kids?

On the whole, it’s not especially unsafe to take your kids to Peru. Family and children are very important in the Peruvian culture, so you and your kids will be made to feel very welcome.

Be careful with particularly small children, though, because they’re more susceptible to getting sick from unfiltered water, for example. It’s also not recommended to take kids under three to high altitudes such as Machu Picchu.  

Is Peru safe for female travelers?

It’s not particularly unsafe to be a female traveler in Peru, though you might be the victim of some unwanted attention, mostly in the form of catcalling. Local women in Peru rarely go out to bars without men, so if you are a women-only group in a bar, you might get some extra attention.

Avoid being alone if you can, especially after dark, because petty thieves will see you as an easy target. Having said that, if you are a solo female traveler and need help, most locals will be very understanding and do their best to assist you.  

Can you drink the tap water in Peru?

While tap water is plentiful in the country and indoor plumbing is common, it’s advised that you either drink bottled water or boil all your drinking water while in Peru. Make sure to boil your water for at least one minute to remove any contaminants. Additionally, you can use a Lifestraw , which not only ensures that your water is always safe to drink but helps you avoid single-use plastic.  

Are taxis safe in Peru?

Taxis are relatively safe, but you’ll want to make sure that you only use authorized taxis and that you know the rate in advance. If you need a taxi, have your hostel or hotel call one for you and find out what the rate is in advance. Make sure you agree on the fare with the driver in advance, as taxis don’t use meters so it’s easy to get overcharged if you’re not paying attention.

Try to avoid riding alone at night, especially if you’re a solo female traveler.  

As Peru’s capital and largest city, crime is naturally higher here than elsewhere in the country. Protests and riots are more likely to happen here as well. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t visit this vibrant city, just that you should take extra care here.

Don’t walk around alone at night, unless you’re in the safer neighborhoods, such as Miraflores and Barranco (though it’s always best to not walk around alone after dark at all). Steer clear of civil uprisings (which usually take place in the historic center near capital buildings) to avoid getting caught in the middle.

While petty theft is a risk, most violent crime takes place in neighborhoods that tourists don’t tend to visit, and between people who know each other. Follow the above guidelines and enjoy your time in Lima!

Peru is an amazing destination no matter what your interests, with a rich culture, welcoming people, beautiful landscapes, and fascinating historical sights.

You do need to be cautious about your personal safety, however. The most common issues travelers face there are petty theft and pickpocketing, but by exercising a bit of extra vigilance and common sense, you can minimize your risk. Be sure to make sure that you’re not carrying valuables in an obvious way and don’t have large sums of cash in one place.

Peru is a relatively safe country to visit, so don’t let the stories put you off. The amazing attractions will definitely make your trip worthwhile!

Book Your Trip to Peru: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned!

Book Your Accommodation You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. My favorite places to stay are:

  • Pariwana Hostel (Lima)
  • Kokopelli (Cusco)
  • Arequipay Backpackers Downtown (Arequipa)

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

  • Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
  • Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
  • Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)

Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Peru? Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Peru for even more planning tips!

Got a comment on this article? Join the conversation on Facebook , Instagram , or Twitter and share your thoughts!

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I earn a commission if you make a purchase. I recommend only products and companies I use and the income goes to keeping the site community supported and ad free.

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lima peru tourist safety

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
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Safety and security

This guide also has safety advice for regions of Peru .

There is a high threat of terrorist attack globally affecting UK interests and British nationals, including from groups and individuals who view the UK and British nationals as targets. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times.   

UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out how to reduce your risk from terrorism while abroad .

Terrorism in Peru

Terrorist attacks in Peru cannot be ruled out.

Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners. Stay aware of your surroundings, keep up to date with local media reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Political situation

Political protests in Peru are unpredictable and can escalate quickly. Demonstrations can become violent and lead to roadblocks, travel disruption, including trains, and suspension of immigration services at land borders. This is often without notice or notification of estimated re-opening timelines.

Local groups can announce strike action, with little or no notice, particularly in areas connected to mining. These may quickly spill over from one region to another. 

It’s illegal for foreigners in Peru to participate in political activities, including demonstrations against the government. You may face detention or deportation if you take part in a demonstration. To reduce any risk:

  • avoid large gatherings and protests
  • stay in a safe place
  • follow the instructions of army or police officers
  • take the advice of local authorities or tour operators
  • monitor local media, including social media channels
  • be wary of unverified, unofficial information
  • make sure you travel with enough food, water, local currency and personal medication
  • allow extra time to reach your destination

Protests in Lima often happen in the historic centre, where access can be restricted, but they can also spread to other areas. Other regions that have seen recent protests include Arequipa, Ayacucho, Cusco, La Libertad, Madre de Dios and Puno.

Some train services in the south, including those to and from Machu Picchu, are occasionally suspended or disrupted because of protests. Contact your travel provider for further advice on disruptions, and check if changes need to be made to your journey.

Contact an iPeru office or iPeru online for help with issues travelling to different regions of Peru.

The British Embassy’s ability to provide help will be very limited where protests or criminal activity results in travel disruption or damage to the infrastructure.

Help from local authorities, including police and emergency services, will also be very limited, especially if airports, roads and railroads are affected.

Organised crime

There is a higher risk to your safety in areas where there is organised crime and terrorism linked to drug production. This includes the border areas with Ecuador, Colombia and Brazil and the Valley of Apurímac, Ene and Mantaro rivers ( VRAEM ). Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist movement are still active in some of the main coca growing areas in central Peru (Alto Huallaga, Aguaytia and VRAEM river basins).

Street crime

Street crime, including muggings and thefts, is a significant problem in Lima, Cusco, Arequipa and other major cities. Be alert in public places and when withdrawing cash from ATMs.

It is safer to use ATMs inside banks, supermarkets or large commercial buildings during business hours. Do not walk on your own in quiet areas or at night.

There have been a number of robberies at gunpoint of British tourists and residents. Attacks can take place in tourist areas of Lima such as Miraflores and Barranco. To reduce your personal risk:

  • avoid wearing or displaying expensive items
  • avoid using your phone at the roadside, as motorbike riders may snatch it
  • report crimes to local police as soon as possible
  • ask lodge or hotel staff for help if an incident happens on site

Criminals target cars stopped at traffic lights. Keep your doors locked and windows shut while driving.

Protecting your belongings

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching, is common, so:

  • keep your belongings secure
  • do not leave bags unattended
  • on bus journeys, keep your passport with you

Bogus taxi drivers

There is a risk of robbery by bogus taxi drivers, especially at Jorge Chavez International Airport and bus terminals. Bogus taxi drivers and thieves pretending to be tour operators sometimes approach arriving passengers. To reduce the risk:

  • use licensed telephone or app-based taxi services and do not hail taxis on the street
  • ask your hotel to book taxis for you
  • use one of the official taxi companies at the airport , located at desks directly outside the baggage hall
  • use one of the taxis registered at bus terminals

Kidnappings and hold-ups

Tourists, especially those travelling alone, are at risk of ‘express kidnapping’. Victims are taken hostage and forced to withdraw money from ATMs for their release, usually at night. Incidents often involve armed criminals posing as taxi drivers, or taxi drivers working for organised gangs. Provincial and inter-city buses are sometimes held up by armed robbers.

If a kidnapping or hold-up happens to you:

  • do not attempt to resist attackers
  • agree to any demands for cash or goods
  • report the incident to the police as soon as possible

Criminals can also fake kidnappings by contacting the numbers from a stolen mobile phone and claiming to have kidnapped the owner. They then demand a ransom. Report it to the police if you suspect this has taken place.

Sexual assault

There have been some cases of rape or sexual assault of tourists, mostly in the Cusco and Arequipa areas. Unscrupulous tour agents have targeted young females, travelling alone in the Cusco area. You should:

  • buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times
  • try to seek help from people you know
  • report incidents to the police as soon as possible

For information on reputable tourist services around Peru, contact iPeru .

Money scams

Counterfeit US and Peruvian banknotes are in circulation. There have been reports of intis (former Peruvian currency now out of circulation) being used fraudulently by street money changers in Cusco tourist areas.

Laws and cultural differences

Personal id.

Carry an identification document with you at all times as the Peruvian police may ask to see it.

Illegal drugs and prison sentences

Illegal drug use and drug trafficking in Peru carry lengthy jail sentences. Prison conditions in Peru are extremely poor and the British Embassy cannot intervene in police or judicial matters, or secure more favourable conditions.

You should:

  • pack your luggage yourself and keep it with you at all times
  • not carry anything through customs for anyone
  • not take coca leaves or coca tea out of the country – it is illegal to import these items into the UK

Some British nationals have been targeted by drug couriers through email scams. The fraudsters ask you to travel to Peru where you’ll be given some items to take. These items contain drugs. You’ll face detention for drug trafficking if convicted.

Military photography

Do not take photographs of anything of a military nature.

LGBT+ travellers

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Peru, but social attitudes are generally conservative. Crimes against the LGBT+ community are not included in hate crime legislation and same-sex partnerships are not formally recognised.

Same-sex couples showing affection in public may receive unwanted and negative attention.

Read more advice for LGBT+ travellers .

Outdoor activities and adventure tourism

Make sure your insurance covers you for all planned activities.

Unregulated tour services

Make sure that agencies providing adventure activities like zipline, canopy tours, bungee jumping, paragliding, kayaking, rock climbing, sand buggies and surfing have a licence. You should also check their health and safety precautions. For updated information on tour and sport services, contact iPeru .

Hiking and mountaineering

Peru’s highest peaks are in the Cordillera Blanca Mountains. Several hikers have died and others had to be rescued after serious accidents. Much of the region is inaccessible by helicopter so rescues are usually carried out on foot. Contact the iPeru tourist office in Huaraz – phone: 0051 (43) 428 812 – before you set off.

Sand buggies  

There have been deaths and accidents involving recreational sand buggies, particularly in the sand dunes around Ica and Lake Huacachina. These buggies are unregulated and the drivers and agencies take no responsibility for the welfare of passengers.

There are unauthorised surfboard rentals at the beaches of Miraflores. There may not be lifeguards on beaches.

Amazon region

Criminal activity has been reported along the Amazon River, near the tri-border area with Brazil and Colombia. Thieves, known locally as ‘river pirates’, can be armed. Solo travellers and foreign nationals have been targeted. Be especially alert to the local security situation in these areas.

River rafting and Amazon riverboat cruises  

For more information or to check the credentials of rafting and cruise operators, contact iPeru .

Spiritual cleansing

Shamans and other individuals offer ‘spiritual cleansing’ (Ayahuasca or San Pedro) to tourists in the Amazon area, northern Peru and Cusco. This service typically involves drinking a brew containing dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a hallucinogenic drug that is a Class A substance in the UK. This brew is not regulated and its interaction with existing medical conditions is not well understood. People have suffered serious illnesses and in some cases death after taking part in these ceremonies. Spiritual cleansing retreats are usually some distance from populated areas making it difficult to access medical attention for those who need it.

There have also been reports of sexual assault during these ceremonies. There is guidance to support you if you have been sexually assaulted or raped in Peru .

Transport risks

Road travel.

If you are planning to drive in Peru, see information on driving abroad .

You can use a UK photocard driving licence to drive in Peru (if your immigration stay permit is valid) for up to 6 months. If you still have a paper driving licence, you may need to update it to a photocard licence or get the correct version of the international driving permit ( IDP ) as well.

Carry your passport or a valid ID (‘carne de extranjería’ if you are a resident) with you at all times when driving.

Take particular care if you are driving close to places where protests are taking place. Do not attempt to pass blockades.

Driving standards in Peru are poor. Drivers often ignore stop signs and traffic lights, and fatal crashes are frequent.

Drivers do not always show concern for pedestrians. You should be extra cautious when walking alongside traffic.

Bus crashes are common, especially at night. Only use reputable transport companies, and where possible, avoid overnight travel, especially in mountainous and remote regions.

Extreme weather and natural disasters

Rainy season.

The rainy season in Peru runs from November to May bringing heavy rain and snow in northern Peru, the Andes, including Cusco, and other parts of the country.

It can lead to the disruption of some travel services, the restriction of some inter-provincial travel by road, flight delays and the temporary closure of some tourist sites.

Rockslides, mudslides and snow can cause disruption to walking routes, road and rail travel in mountain and jungle areas:

  • across the Cusco Region
  • routes to Machu Picchu (including the alternative Santa Maria-Santa Teresa-hydroelectric plant route, and the Salkantay route)
  • the route to Manu (in Cusco and Madre de Dios)
  • across northern regions of Peru
  • check the latest conditions with your tour operator
  • travel with enough food, water, cash in local currency, medication and warm clothes
  • monitor local media for updates on travel information before starting your journey
  • contact iPeru before you set off


Peru is in an active earthquake zone and there are frequent tremors.   

Follow any advice given by the local authorities. The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after an earthquake . 

Volcanic eruptions

If you are planning to visit areas of known volcanic activity, listen to all warnings and follow the advice of the local authorities.

Peru’s most active volcano, Ubinas, has been emitting gas and ash recently, leading to some local villages being evacuated, affecting 30,000 people.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has advice about what to do before, during and after a volcanic eruption .

Tsunamis and high tides

Although tsunamis are rare in Peru, higher tides often happen either after an earthquake or for other reasons throughout the year. See the Peruvian Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation for information.

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lima peru tourist safety

Lima Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Lima, Peru in 2024?

Planning a trip to Lima raises safety concerns. As Peru's vibrant capital, it blends history with modernity, but, like any city, faces safety issues.

lima peru tourist safety

Understanding Lima's safety landscape is crucial for a worry-free visit. The city's safety can vary greatly depending on the area and time of day. While some neighborhoods boast a relaxed and secure atmosphere, others require a bit more caution. Let's dive into what makes Lima tick and how you can enjoy everything it has to offer, safely.

Key Takeaways

  • Lima's Safety Varies by Neighborhood: Safety in Lima is not uniform; districts like Miraflores and San Isidro are safer due to their high police presence, while areas such as Callao and parts of the historical center require more caution, especially after dark.
  • Common Safety Concerns: Travelers should be aware of petty theft, pickpocketing, and scams, particularly in crowded and tourist-heavy areas. Taking preventive measures like keeping valuables out of sight can mitigate risks.
  • Transportation and Night Safety Tips: Using official taxis or ride apps is recommended to avoid scams or overcharges. When exploring the city, especially at night, staying in groups and keeping informed about the local area can enhance safety.
  • Tourist-Friendly Areas: Miraflores and Barranco are highlighted for their safety features, including high police visibility and community safety programs, making them ideal spots for tourists seeking both security and vibrant experiences.
  • Staying Informed is Crucial: Researching neighborhoods, utilizing reputable transport services, and being culturally sensitive are key strategies for ensuring a safe visit to Lima. Awareness of the socio-economic landscape and local news updates can help travelers make informed decisions.

Safety in Lima: An Overview

When considering a trip to Lima, understanding the city's safety landscape is paramount. Lima is a vivid tapestry of cultures and histories , each neighborhood offering a different experience. However, this diversity also means that safety varies considerably across the city.

Crime Rates and Safety Concerns

Recent data shows that Lima encounters typical urban safety issues, including petty theft, pickpocketing, and scams, especially in crowded or tourist-heavy areas. While these are common in many major cities around the globe, awareness and caution are your best tools.

Areas to Watch

Neighborhood safety in Lima fluctuates, with districts such as Miraflores and San Isidro being among the safest, thanks to their higher police presence and private security. Conversely, areas like Callao and parts of the historical center can pose more significant risks, especially after dark. Remember, the time of day matters —the vibe in many neighborhoods shifts once the sun sets.

  • Keep Valuables Out of Sight : Flashy jewelry and electronics can draw unwanted attention.
  • Use Official Taxis or Ride Apps : This minimizes the risk of scams or overcharges.
  • Be Mindful at ATMs : Use machines in secure, well-lit locations.
  • Stay Informed : Keep up with local news or advisories during your visit.

Grasping the safety nuances of Lima allows you to navigate the city more securely and confidently. By staying alert, informed, and prepared, you'll mitigate many risks, ensuring your visit to Lima is both memorable and safe.

Factors Affecting Safety in Lima

When planning your trip to Lima, understanding the factors that contribute to the city's safety landscape is crucial. With its mix of modernity and tradition, Lima presents unique challenges and considerations for travelers.

Geographic Diversity

Lima's geography greatly influences safety levels across the city. Coastal districts like Miraflores and Barranco are renowned for their increased police surveillance and lower crime rates, making them preferred locations for tourists. However, areas adjacent to these neighborhoods might not share the same level of security.

Economic Disparities

The stark economic differences between districts can affect safety. Areas with higher poverty rates often experience more petty crimes. It's essential to be aware of this socio-economic landscape, especially when exploring less affluent neighborhoods or the outskirts of Lima.

Tourism Impact

The influx of tourists in Lima has both positive and negative consequences on safety. While it has led to improved security measures in popular districts, it also makes these areas targets for petty criminals who may see tourists as easy targets.

Local Law Enforcement

The presence and effectiveness of local law enforcement play a significant role in ensuring safety. Districts with strong police visibility tend to deter criminal activities. However, the effectiveness can vary, making some areas riskier than others.

Staying informed about these factors allows you to make smarter decisions while navigating Lima. Always prioritize your safety by choosing well-lit areas and being vigilant.

Safe Neighborhoods in Lima

When planning your trip to Lima, you're likely wondering about the safest neighborhoods to stay or visit. It's crucial to choose areas that not only offer vibrant experiences but also prioritize your safety and security. In Lima, some neighborhoods stand out for their lower crime rates and enhanced safety measures.

Miraflores and Barranco are among the top choices for travelers seeking safety. These districts are not only picturesque with their coastal views and colonial architecture but also boast a strong security presence.

Here's a quick overview of their safety features:

Miraflores, in particular, is renowned for its commitment to safety. The district has implemented advanced surveillance systems and a tourist-friendly police force. Whether you're strolling through Kennedy Park or shopping at Larcomar, you'll notice a sense of security that's unmatched.

Barranco, on the other hand, combines bohemian charm with safety. Its well-patrolled streets and vibrant nightlife make it an ideal spot for those looking to explore Lima's artistic side without compromising on safety.

Remember, staying informed about the neighborhoods you plan to visit can greatly enhance your safety. Always check the latest travel advisories and local news before your trip.

Explore these neighborhoods with confidence, knowing you've made an informed choice about your safety in Lima.

Areas to Exercise Caution in Lima

While exploring Lima, it's crucial to stay aware of areas where safety might not be as high as in Miraflores or Barranco. The city is vibrant and full of life but, like any large metropolitan area, it has zones that demand extra vigilance.

Key Areas of Concern

  • Callao : Often cited for higher crime rates, Callao is a district that requires caution, particularly at night. The area has been working on enhancing security, but it's advisable to stay alert and preferably travel in groups if you must visit.
  • Downtown Lima (Centro de Lima) : While it's rich in history and culture, some parts of Downtown Lima can be risky after dark. Tourists are advised to keep their belongings close and be wary of pickpockets.
  • Travel Smart : Always use reputable transportation services, especially at night.
  • Stay Informed : Keep up with the local news and updates about areas you plan to visit.
  • Group Travel : Whenever possible, explore the city with companions for an added layer of security.

By exercising caution and staying informed, you can navigate Lima safely and enjoy all the wonderful experiences the city has to offer. Remember, your safety is paramount and being cautious doesn't mean missing out on the adventure; it simply means being smart about how you explore.

Tips for Staying Safe in Lima

When planning your trip to Lima, prioritizing your safety ensures a more enjoyable experience. Lima, like any major city, has its share of safety concerns, but with the right knowledge and precautions, you can significantly reduce your risk.

Stay Informed About Your Area

Before your arrival, research the neighborhoods in Lima. Areas such as Miraflores and San Isidro are known for their higher security levels and tourist-friendly environment. Conversely, Callao and parts of Downtown Lima have higher crime rates, especially after dark. Check recent news and updates about the areas you plan to visit. Local forums and travel advisories can provide real-time insights.

Use Reputable Transport Services

Navigating through Lima requires you to be cautious about your transportation choices. Always opt for reputable taxi services or ride-sharing apps that are well-regarded in Lima. Avoid hopping into just any taxi, particularly those without identification. Here's a quick reference for trusted transport options:

  • Ride-sharing apps: Safe and can be tracked via GPS
  • Registered taxis: Look for official identification and licenses

Travel in Groups When Possible

There’s safety in numbers. Whether you’re exploring the ancient ruins or enjoying Lima’s vibrant nightlife, try to move around in groups. This is not just a deterrent to potential criminals but also ensures you have someone to rely on in unfamiliar situations.

Keep an Eye on Personal Belongings

Petty theft is a common issue in crowded places. Always watch your belongings, particularly in tourist-heavy areas. Use cross-body bags that close securely and consider using money belts for essential items.

Cultural Sensitivity and Awareness

Being culturally sensitive and aware of your surroundings can also play a significant role in your safety. Understand local customs and dress codes to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. Familiarize yourself with basic Spanish phrases; being able to communicate can help in many situations.

By staying informed, choosing safe transportation options, sticking together, and being aware of your belongings and surroundings, you’re setting the stage for a memorable and safe exploration of Lima.

Armed with the right knowledge and precautions, you're set to explore Lima safely and make the most of your visit. Remember, choosing where to stay and how to get around matters as much as being vigilant about your belongings and company. By sticking to safer neighborhoods like Miraflores and San Isidro and following the safety tips outlined, you'll not only guard against common risks but also immerse yourself fully in the vibrant culture and beauty of Lima. So pack your bags with confidence, knowing you're well-prepared for a memorable and secure adventure in one of South America's most captivating cities.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the safest neighborhoods in lima for travelers.

Miraflores and San Isidro are highlighted as the safest neighborhoods in Lima for travelers. These areas are known for their higher security levels, making them ideal for visitors looking for a safe stay.

Which areas in Lima should travelers avoid?

Visitors are advised to exercise caution in areas with higher crime rates such as Callao and certain parts of Downtown Lima. These areas are known to be less safe for tourists.

How can travelers stay safe when using transportation in Lima?

To ensure safety when using transportation in Lima, it is recommended to use reputable transportation services. Opting for trusted taxi companies or ride-sharing apps can significantly reduce the risk of encountering safety issues.

Is it safer to travel in groups while in Lima?

Yes, traveling in groups is generally considered safer in Lima. Being in a group can deter potential criminals and provide added security through numbers, especially in areas known for higher crime rates.

What should travelers do to prevent petty theft in Lima?

Travelers are advised to keep a close eye on their personal belongings at all times to prevent petty theft. This includes not displaying expensive gadgets or jewelry and being cautious in crowded places.

Why is it important to be culturally sensitive in Lima?

Being culturally sensitive and aware of surroundings in Lima is important to avoid accidentally offending locals or engaging in behaviors that could compromise safety. Understanding and respecting local customs can enhance the travel experience and ensure smoother interactions.

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Peru travel advice

Latest updates: Health - editorial update

Last updated: May 6, 2024 10:37 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, peru - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in Peru due to high levels of crime, as well as social conflicts and strikes that may occur across the country.

Regional advisory - Avoid non-essential travel

  • Huallaga and Tocache provinces in the department of San Martín
  • the Upper Huallaga and Ene river valleys in the departments of Huánuco and San Martín
  • Padre Abad province in the department of Ucayali
  • Huacaybamba, Humalíes, Leoncio Prado and Marañón provinces in the department of Huánuco
  • Concepción and Satipo provinces in the department of Junín
  • Tayacaja province in the department of Huancavelica
  • the districts of Abancay, Andahuaylas and Chincheros in the department of Apurímac
  • Huanta and La Mar provinces, in the department of Ayacucho
  • Valley of Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers (VRAEM)

Border area with Colombia - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 20 km of the border with Colombia due to drug trafficking and occasional incursions by armed guerrilla forces from Colombia into Peru.

Border area with Ecuador - Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to areas within 20 km of the border with Ecuador, especially in the Cordillera del Cóndor region, due to the safety threat posed by landmines.

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State of emergency in regions bordering Ecuador

On January 10, 2024, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the northern regions bordering Ecuador following the Government of Ecuador’s declaration of a nationwide state of “internal armed conflict” on January 9, 2024. The state of emergency is in effect in the following regions:

If you are in these regions, you should carry identification with you at all times.

Demonstrations and strikes

Demonstrations and strikes take place regularly throughout the country. Strikes can complicate travel and disrupt public transport and services, including your ability to travel to or leave isolated tourist destinations such as Machu Picchu. They could also lead to border closures with Bolivia. Protestors may also block rivers essential for transportation in some remote regions, including the Manu region of Madre de Dios and Iquitos region. This may result in the temporary detainment of tourists.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. Police have used tear gas and other methods to disperse crowds in the past. Authorities often declare a state of emergency in response to demonstrations. 

Peruvian law prohibits political activities by foreigners. You may face detention or deportation if you take part in a demonstration.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Consult local media to be aware of strikes and demonstrations that may affect your stay or travel plans

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

State of Emergency 

The Peruvian government periodically declares a state of emergency in certain areas to allow the military to assist police forces to respond to security incidents and natural disasters. When a state of emergency is in effect, security forces have increased rights to:

  • restrict freedom of movement
  • monitor correspondence
  • conduct search and seizures
  • detain persons of interest

Border area with Colombia

Criminal activity related to narcotics trafficking and occasional incursions by armed guerrilla forces from Colombia at Cordillera del Cóndor, Peru, pose a threat to personal security.

Border area with Ecuador

Cross the Peru–Ecuador border at official crossing points only due to the presence of landmines along the border.

Basic services in the Tumbes district have become increasingly difficult to access due to an increased number of migrants entering Peru from the North land border with Ecuador. The increased population has limited the provision of these services.

Valle de los Ríos Apurímac, Ene y Mantaro (VRAEM)

Drug trafficking.

Cocaine production and trafficking occurs inVRAEM. Travel is particularly dangerous in areas where there is coca cultivation and processing.

Domestic terrorism

Incidents of domestic terrorism have occurred in VRAEM, particularly the region where the Apurímac, Ayacucho, Cuzco and Junín departments meet.

Crime rates are high throughout the country.

  • Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness, especially at night
  • Avoid walking in deserted or under-populated areas
  • Travel in groups whenever possible

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, occurs, particularly in Lima, in other cities and even in crowded, public areas. Theft occurs frequently in hotels, restaurants, bus stations and airports, on intercity buses and microbuses and while hailing taxis.

  • Avoid wearing expensive watches and jewellery, or showing signs of affluence
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Never leave bags unattended

Pickpockets and bag snatchers may work in pairs or groups and employ a variety of ruses to divert their victim’s attention. A common scam involves spraying a substance on victims and then robbing them while pretending to help clean the stain, or distracting the victim by asking questions while another person perpetrates the theft. In some cases, thieves on motorcycles will snatch purses, backpacks or cellular phones. 

Violent crime

Violent crime occurs. Incidents have included:

  • kidnappings

Armed robbery

Armed robberies are on the rise. While most victims are not physically injured, criminals will not hesitate to use force when opposed.

  • If you are robbed, hand over your cash, electronic devices and valuables without resistance
  • Be particularly vigilant after visiting a bank, an ATM or a change bureau, as thieves may follow and rob victims.
  • Use ATMs inside banks and during regular hours of service, when guards are on duty

Assaults have occurred along the Inca Trail and in the Huaraz region of the Cordillera Blanca mountains. Hiking in these regions should be done in groups.

Express kidnappings involving tourists have occurred. Victims are usually abducted for a few hours and forced to withdraw money from ATMs for their release. Most express kidnappings take place at night, but incidents also occur during daylight hours. Incidents often involve criminals posing as taxi drivers, or taxi drivers working for organized gangs. Virtual kidnappings occur throughout the country. Criminals use stolen cellphones to contact family members claiming to have kidnapped the owner of the phone and then ask for ransom money.

  • Be suspicious of strangers approaching you on the street
  • Never leave your cellphone unattended
  • Be cautious when using cellphones and smart devices in public as they are often targeted by thieves, especially while people are using them
  • Ensure your phone is password protected

Organized crime

Organized crime is reportedly increasing in parts of Lima Province and in some districts of the Department of Piura. In some parts of the country, military and security forces have been deployed to assist police in combatting organized crime.

Incidents of domestic terrorism occur, particularly in remote jungle areas such as:

  • parts of the Huancavelica and Ucayali departments
  •  the Upper Huallaga river valley in the Huánuco and San Martín departments.

Incidents have included:

  • temporary ambushes of small villages
  • bombings or threats of violence against local security forces or community figures

Overland travel in these regions is unsafe.

Counterfeit currency

Counterfeit currency in both sol and U.S. dollars is a growing and serious problem. Counterfeit bills are widely distributed, including by banks, casinos and local stores.

Avoid moneychangers on the street, as they may carry counterfeit currency or work with pickpockets.

Credit card fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
  • use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Criminals posing as taxi drivers often rob tourists along the route to and from Lima’s Jorge Chávez International Airport.

  • Use a secure taxi service when arriving at and leaving the airport
  • Exercise caution en route to and from your hotel

Thieves also pose as police officers to gain the confidence and cooperation of their potential victims.

  • If you are stopped by local authorities, ask to see official identification and record the officer’s name, badge number and district.
  • For traffic violations, request that the officer issue you a fine in writing, which is payable at a later date.
  • You should also note the location of the arrest.

Legitimate police officers have also extorted money in exchange for dismissing minor offences or traffic violations. They have also stolen money and valuables during searches.

  • If you are searched, even at the airport, ensure you have all your belongings before leaving
  • If you are planning to participate in volunteer activities in Peru, ensure that the company organizing your trip is legitimate
  • Make sure your accommodations and return arrangements are secure before travelling

Useful links

  • Lima Airport Partners
  • Overseas fraud
  • Volunteering abroad

Spiked food and drinks

Snacks, beverages, gum and cigarettes may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

  • Be wary of accepting these items from new acquaintances
  • Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse. Incidents of sexual assault, including rape, occur throughout the country, particularly in tourist destinations. In some cases, tour guides have been implicated.

  • Do not travel alone, especially after dark.
  • Remain particularly vigilant at bus terminals and in taxis.
  • Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances, especially regarding the acceptance of rides or other invitations.

Women reporting sexual assault should contact police immediately. Medical examinations at identified clinics are part of the investigation process. Women who have delayed reporting may experience more scrutiny by local authorities.

Advice for women travellers

Adventure tourism

Each year, several hikers and climbers are victims of serious, sometimes fatal, accidents in the Andes, including at the Huayna Picchu peak near Machu Picchu and the Cordillera Blanca region in Huaraz, where Peru’s highest peaks are located.

The Inca Trail is usually closed each year in February for maintenance. Other trails, such as those found in Ollantaytambo, may be poorly marked. Hikers have become lost. Be aware that steep or slippery areas are neither fenced nor marked.

In November 2023, the Cusipata District in Quispicanchi Province closed two access routes to Vinicunca, the “Rainbow Mountain.” The closure follows violent disputes between the municipalities surrounding the access routes. Access to Vinicunca from Quispicanchi Province will be closed indefinitely, but access remains open via the Pitumarca District in Canchis Province.

Remote areas of Peru, where popular jungle excursions operate, may not have cellphone coverage or internet access.

If you intend to hike, trek or climb:

  • never do so alone, and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
  • only use licensed companies recommended by the Ministry of Tourism for adventure tours and sports
  • exercise extreme caution while climbing, as local authorities have limited rescue capabilities
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • make sure that you’re properly equipped and well-informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
  • obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
  • always leave the contact information of the tour operator with your family and friends
  • always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company if you travel in remote areas
  • iPerú ‎ - Peruvian government’s Tourist Information and Assistance‎
  • APOTUR  - The Peruvian Association of Incoming and Domestic Tour Operators (in Spanish)
  • APAVIT   - Peruvian Association of Travel and Tourist Agencies (in Spanish)
  • APTAE - Peruvian association of adventure, eco, and specialized tourism (in Spanish)
  • Qualified Tourism Service Companies  - Ministry of foreign trade and tourism (in Spanish)

Water activities

There have been several recent white-water rafting accidents and drownings involving tourists, particularly on the Urubamba River near Cuzco. Companies offering white-water rafting, their guides and their equipment may not be held to the same standards as similar companies in Canada. Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Strong currents exist in the Pacific Ocean and in rivers. Life guards are not always present or properly trained at beaches.

Swimming in jungle lakes and rivers can be dangerous due to the presence of parasites and wildlife.

Seek advice and consult residents and local authorities about conditions before swimming, surfing or participating in other aquatic activities.

Water safety abroad

Ayahuasca ceremonies

Spiritual cleansing and ayahuasca ceremonies, offered by shamans and other individuals, involve consuming substances that can cause medical complications and severely impair cognitive and physical abilities. Exposure to these substances has led to serious illness, injury, assault and even the death of several tourists.

Ceremonies often take place in remote areas with no access to medical or mental health facilities or resources and limited communication with local authorities. Most of the time, the facilities lack basic first aid or emergency plans for those suffering from physical or psychological illness from these ceremonies. Ayahuasca ceremonies are not regulated and there is no way to assess the safety of any of the services, the operators or the shamans.

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety are poor throughout the country. Drivers are extremely aggressive, and they do not respect traffic laws. Mountainous roads can be particularly dangerous, especially at night. Poor signage also poses a hazard. Accidents causing fatalities are common.

Regular police spot checks can cause traffic delays.

When renting a vehicle, always purchase insurance. Most drivers in Peru have only the minimum required car insurance, which may not adequately cover accidents.

Vehicles are a target for robbery. Criminals have thrown objects in front of oncoming traffic in the hope that cars will stop. If this occurs and you need to stop, do so only in a safe location, such as a gas station.

  • While travelling by car, keep your doors locked and windows shut at all times
  • Keep your personal belongings in the trunk of the vehicle, as criminals have been known to shatter windows to “smash and grab” and to attempt entry when they see travel bags or merchandise
  • Avoid travelling by road outside of major cities after dark, when there is a higher risk of robbery

State of the roads in Peru in real time  – Government of Peru (in Spanish)

Thefts on boats by river pirates occur along rivers in the Amazon jungle.

Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report  - International Maritime Bureau

Public transportation

Buses and minibuses operate between most major cities. Demonstrations and strikes can lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

Many of the buses and combis in Lima are old, poorly maintained and overcrowded. Drivers of these vehicles tend to dominate the roads and disregard other drivers or pedestrians.

Intercity bus travel can be dangerous due to the risk of bus accidents, which are usually caused by excessive speed, poor vehicle maintenance and driver fatigue. Armed gangs have been known to stop buses to rob travellers, especially at night. Incidents of assaults on buses have also been reported.

The Government of Peru publishes a list of the bus companies with the highest rates of involvement in fatal or serious injury traffic accidents.

  • Only use reputable transportation companies
  • Contact your travel agency for a list of recommended intercity bus companies

Ministry of Transportation  - Government of Peru (in Spanish)

Trains operate between Arequipa-Cusco-Puno and between Cusco-Ollantaytambo-Machu Picchu . Demonstrations, strikes and derailments can disrupt travel by train, including trains to or from Machu Picchu.

  • Train services – Peru rail
  • Train to Machu Picchu - Inca rail

Licensed taxis are not metered. Taxi drivers sometimes do not provide change or will continue to drive until they can obtain change.

  • Do not hail taxis on the street
  • Reserve a taxi by calling a reputable taxi company or use taxi services associated with major hotels
  • Agree to a fare prior to departure and do not pay until you have reached your destination
  • Try to carry the exact fare

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines


Entry restrictions at land and river borders with Ecuador

On January 11, 2024, the Government of Ecuador announced new entry restrictions in response to the ongoing state of internal armed conflict.

All foreigners entering Ecuador at crossing points with the land or river borders will need to present a criminal records check from their country of origin or residence. Both the original criminal record check and the Spanish translation must be apostilled, and cover the past five years. Minors travelling with their family members will generally be exempt.

The Apostille Convention took effect in Canada on January 11, 2024. An apostille is a standard certificate allowing documents to be accepted in all countries where the convention is in effect.

  • Migration information – Ecuador Immigration Agency (in Spanish)
  • Changes to authentication services in Canada
  • Apostilles for documents

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Peruvian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Peru.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required for a stay of less than 90 days per 365 day period Business visa: required  Student visa: required

If you entered Peru with a business visa, you must obtain a certificate from the Peruvian Ministry of the Economy to prove that all Peruvian taxes on income earned during the trip have been paid prior to leaving the country. The certification is required even if no money was paid or earned and must be presented to the central Peruvian immigration office in Lima before departure.

Entering the country

You must register your entry into Peru at the port of entry or checkpoint.

  • Only cross the border at official checkpoints
  • Ensure the immigration office at your port of entry is open at the time you intend to cross the border

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them:

  • a return or onward ticket
  • proof that you have a place to stay
  • proof that you have sufficient funds for the duration of your stay

Length of stay

As a Canadian tourist, you may stay in Peru for up to 90 days in a 365-day period.

Overstaying is a criminal offence. There is a fine for each day of overstay. This fee must be paid upon exiting the country.

Dual citizenship

Peruvian–Canadians entering Peru using their Canadian passport are subject to visit restrictions, including length of stay and associated fines. Dual nationals must use the same nationality to enter and exit the country.

Children and travel

Travellers under 18 exiting Peru after a stay of 183 days are automatically protected by Peru’s law on minors and will require the authorization of both parents/guardians to exit the country.

Children who have resident status in Peru must have written permission from the non-accompanying parents to leave the country.

Children born of Canadian parents in Peru require a Peruvian passport to leave the country for the first time. Contact Peruvian immigration officials for more information.

  • Travelling with children

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 6 May, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever   is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.


  • Vaccination is recommended depending on your itinerary.
  • Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.

About Yellow Fever Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada * It is important to note that   country entry requirements   may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest   diplomatic or consular office   of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria  is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.   There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows. • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing.    If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

Cutaneous and mucosal   leishmaniasis   causes skin sores and ulcers. It is caused by a parasite spread through the bite of a female sandfly.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from sandfly bites, which typically occur after sunset in rural and forested areas and in some urban centres. There is no vaccine or medication to protect against leishmaniasis.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease)   is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

There is a risk of   plague   in this country. Plague is a bacterial disease that can cause serious illness, and if left untreated, death.

The occurrence of cases in areas where the plague bacteria are known to circulate can be influenced by weather and environmental conditions. In some countries, this results in seasonal outbreaks. Travellers to areas where plague routinely occurs may be at risk if they are camping, hunting, or in contact with rodents.

Plague is spread by:

  • bites from fleas infected with the plague
  • direct contact with body fluids or tissues from an animal or person who is sick with or has died from plague

Overall risk to travellers is low.   Protect yourself   by   reducing contact with fleas  and potentially infected rodents and other wildlife.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.

Medical services and facilities

Quality of care varies throughout the country.

Private hospitals and clinics in urban centres are well-staffed and -equipped to handle any emergency or medical issue. Public hospitals and rural facilities, even in some tourist destinations and major cities, may not meet Canadian standards or may be inadequate to treat serious conditions.

Cases of serious injury or illness in remote areas may require evacuation to the nearest adequate medical facility in the country. Clinic, hospital and evacuation expenses can be costly and the service provider often expects immediate cash payment or confirmation of payment from an insurance company.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad .

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences, regardless of the amount of narcotics seized at arrest.

If you are arrested in Peru, you should expect lengthy delays to resolve your case, pre-trial detention in harsh conditions and significant related expenses.

  • Pack your own luggage and monitor it closely at all times
  • Never transport other people’s packages, bags or suitcases

Drugs, alcohol and travel


You must carry photo identification at all times. Keep a photocopy of your passport in a safe place, in case it's lost or confiscated. Failure to show identification could result in detention.

Peruvian authorities may impose fines and other penalties for any action considered to be disrespectful at historical and archaeological sites such as Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo and Saqsayhuaman. Visitors to Machu Picchu must adhere to strict regulations regarding entry restrictions and behaviour within the site. Check with your travel guide or agent for the latest information.

Peruvian law strictly prohibits the export of antiques and artefacts (huacos) from pre-colonial civilizations. Purchase reproductions of colonial or pre-colonial art from reputable dealers only and insist on obtaining documentation from Peru's National Institute of Culture to prove that the object is a reproduction and may be exported.

The export of coca tea bags and products is prohibited.

It is illegal to remove certain fauna and flora items from Peru. Items made from or displaying animals, insects or plants may be seized. If you are convicted of possession of such items, you could face heavy fines or jail sentences.

National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR) - Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation of Peru (in Spanish)


It is forbidden to photograph military installations.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Peruvian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Peruvian society.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Peru.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Peru, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Peru.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Peru, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Peruvian court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Peru to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

You must carry an international driving permit. A foreign driver's licence can be used only in Lima and only for 30 days after arrival.

Carry identification and vehicle registration at all times.

International Driving Permit

The currency is the Peruvian sol (PEN). The U.S. dollar is widely accepted.

Credit cards are not commonly accepted outside major cities. Many establishments will request to see a passport to confirm the identity of the person using the credit card. 

ATMs are not easily accessible in small towns. They often have limits to the amount and number of daily withdrawals.

El Niño

The complex weather phenomenon called El Niño happens at irregular intervals of 2 to 7 years. El Niño generally generates heavy rainfalls, occurring at the same time as the rainy season, from November to May.

  • Keep informed of regional weather forecasts before and during your travels, and plan accordingly.
  • Ensure you have adequate insurance to cover the consequences of such events, including the disruption of travel plans. 

Seismic activity


Peru is in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes.

Dangerous landslides can also occur, even after minor earthquakes.

Latest earthquakes  - Government of Peru (in Spanish)

Tsunamis can occur following seismic activity. Tsunami evacuation routes are posted along the Costa Verde in Lima and several locations on the coast.

Directorate of Hydrography and Navigation  (in Spanish)

There are active and potentially active volcanoes in southern Peru. Debris from erupting volcanoes may clog rivers and cause them to overflow, resulting in potential flash floods and mudslides. Transportation and services may be affected. Ash clouds may cause disruptions to domestic and international flights. If you live or are travelling near active volcanoes:

  • monitor levels of volcanic activity through the local media
  • pay careful attention to all warnings issued and follow the advice of local authorities
  • Be prepared to modify your travel arrangements or even evacuate the area on short notice

Geophysical Institute of Peru  (in Spanish)

Higher tides are experienced several times throughout the year and may cause flooding and damage along the coast.

Rainy season

The rainy season extends from November to May in the Peruvian Andes.

Seasonal flooding, mudslides and landslides can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services such as utilities, emergency and medical care, food, fuel and water supplies. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

  • Emergency monitoring  – National Institute of Civil Defence (in Spanish)
  • Nationwide weather warnings  – National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru (in Spanish)
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons

Local services

  • Police: 105
  • Tourist police: +51 980 122 335 (Whatsapp number)
  • Medical assistance: 116
  • Firefighters: 116

Consular assistance

For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada to Peru, in Lima, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

  • Travel Guides

Is Peru Safe?

Yes, Peru is safe. This Andean country boasts a rugged, yet beautiful landscape, and is very family oriented. From the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Lima to lunching in a sky dome secured to a cliff above the Sacred Valley, many amazing sights and adventures await you. Do explore the ruins of Machu Picchu, colorful markets, and superb colonial architecture, but don’t forget to keep your wits about you! Peru is full of friendly people who are eager to share their culture and history with you, but travelers especially must beware of petty theft. By following the common-sense practices outlined in this handy guide and learning which areas you should stay away from, you can have a safe time in Peru, and you’ll make amazing memories every step of your journey!

How Safe is Peru?

Peru has a well-deserved reputation as a safe country to visit. Travelers to Peru can feel confident exploring villages in the Andes and cities along the northern coast . Peruvians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, and typically make a positive impression on visitors. That said, Peru does have crime. It’s a good idea to understand where and why crime happens before you visit.

Is Peru Safe for A Vacation?

Yes, Peru is safe for a vacation. As of 2017, over 3,835,000 foreign visitors have enjoyed the country. Given that tourism is currently the nation’s third largest source of foreign currency, Peru has an economical interest in seeing that the number of safe and happy travelers continues to grow.

So, what makes Peru a safe country to visit? Well, Peruvians are typically very friendly to travelers, and are open to cross-cultural exchanges. That said, as a traveler, you should take some basic precautions to avoid petty theft. Remain alert and watch your valuables. Don’t wear flashy jewelry and if you have nice electronics, don’t flaunt them — it's a good idea to keep them in an older bag, hidden pocket, or something equally inconspicuous when they are not in use. Carry money and passports in a money belt, or else leave them in a safety deposit box at your hotel. Be watchful while withdrawing money from an ATM. Walk with confidence when you are going somewhere, especially when walking at night. If you’ve been drinking at night, take a cab home.

Speaking of cabs, be mindful of how you travel about the country. There are several transportation options you can enjoy during your stay in Peru, but some are better than others. It's advisable that you not drive yourself around due to the country's rugged terrain, weather changes, and the aggressive driving style favored by local. Additionally, when taking buses (a popular mode of transport among Peruvians) be sure to keep a close eye on your luggage to avoid theft.

Is Peru Safe to Travel for Families?

Yes, Peru is safe to travel to for families. In fact, the nation boasts a very ‘family-oriented’ mentality, so travelers who are obviously a part of a ‘family group’ will find the country especially welcoming. Since every parent can relate to the joys and challenges of raising a family, it makes it easier to start a conversation with locals who might otherwise be a bit reserved.

One thing families do need to be mindful of is how high in altitude Peru is. While there are low elevation cities, the country’s average elevation is 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) above sea level, and of course top destinations such as Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu fall within or above this range. Why does this matter to families? Officially, 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) is the elevation at which the risk of altitude sickness most frequently occurs; however, at 5,000 feet is where more sensitive demographics – children and the elderly – can begin experiencing symptoms.

What does this mean for you and your loved ones? While trekking through Machu Picchu might sound like an awesome adventure to a hardy 30-something or 40-something, it’s likely to be rough on wee ones or your older parents and grandparents with joint pain. So be sure to consult with your Local Expert about your options for either taking people on the journey with you, or finding a separate suitable activity while you enjoy your excursion.

Is Peru Safe to Travel Alone?

Yes, it is safe to travel alone in Peru. However, solo travelers must always exercise additional precautions. To have the best experience while traveling alone in Peru, always be expected and stay in groups.

When we say, “Be expected,” we mean have a full itinerary and a point of contact, like you do when you partner with your Anywhere Local Expert. Rides, hotels, tours… someone is always expecting you somewhere which is not the case when you book a flight thinking you’ll ‘figure it out along the way.’ Your Local Expert is your first in-country friend, and while you’re sure to meet more during your travels, it’s nice to know that the first person you’ve met (even if it is online) genuinely has your best interests at heart, and is never more than a call, chat, or email away.

As for, “Stay in groups,” we mean you’re better off booking tours than wandering around alone. Just because you’re exploring a marketplace or going on a hike with other people (new acquaintances and future friends) doesn’t mean you won’t have the opportunity to enjoy yourself – by yourself. By all means, take a moment to linger over a view or visit a different stall; the important thing is that you not stray too far from the people you’re with. You know, the people expecting you to be somewhere.

Is Peru Safe for Women Traveling Alone?

Yes, Peru is safe for women traveling alone. However, as is usually the case, women must take a few extra precautions. A machismo mindset exists in Peru, so it behooves solo female travelers to be prepared. Women traveling alone may receive unwanted attention in the form of catcalls, horn honking, and aggressive come-ons. The best strategy is to simply ignore all of this.

While talking with Peruvian men, treat them neutrally and avoid any gestures that could be misinterpreted, such as friendly touches on the arm. If that’s a natural instinct for you, work on breaking that habit now; it’s in your best interest. It's also a good idea to dress conservatively and even wear a fake wedding ring. Some women will occasionally refer to a nonexistent boyfriend or husband.

Walk with purpose and don't travel alone at night. Take cabs and stay at hotels in reputable, well-lit parts of town. When you're in the countryside, be sure to go hiking with at least one other person. Lots of travelers come to Peru, so it isn't necessary to travel alone if you don't want to — it's easy to make friends at hostels, hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Are Peru Hotels Safe?

Yes, hotels in Peru are safe – especially when you book them with your Anywhere Local Expert! Why guess where you should stay when you can get the input of someone who really knows the region? Anywhere’s Local Experts can help you find the best accommodations for your travel needs – whether that’s luxury, family, or even off the beaten path. When you coordinate your accommodations, activities, and transportation, you can be sure that your hotels, tours, and drivers all share a common goal – to keep you safe and enjoying the beauty of Peru. Anywhere does not propose hotels that we know to be unsafe or subpar, so you’ll never see these kinds of accommodations to begin with – it’s just one more way we work to keep you safe and happy during your travels.

How to Not Get Sick on Vacation in Peru?

The best way to enjoy your vacation in Peru is to keep your body healthy from beginning to end. While a skinned knee might not interrupt your plans, a bout of traveller’s diarrhea certainly will! Stay safe during your adventures – whether they’re of the outdoor or culinary variety.

Remember, the best medicine is prevention. So, get all of your necessary vaccines before you leave for your trip; pack anti-diarrheal medication, pink bismuth tablets, motion sickness tablets, or whatever you may need to quell tummy trouble at a moment’s notice; once you land, be an expert at how to stay safe and well during a vacation in Peru with these tips and tricks...

Is The Water Safe to Drink in Peru?

No, you cannot drink the water in Peru – it is not safe. To avoid traveller’s diarrhea and other waterborne diseases, drink bottled water and only eat peeled fruits like oranges and bananas. Bottled water (agua pura) is widely available in grocery stores, restaurants, and hotels. In fact, many hotels have filtered water available for guests so that you can reuse a water bottle during your stay. Boiling water for one minute, using iodine pills, or a water filter will also purify water. In addition to avoiding fruits and veggies that require washing, order drinks without ice because it is usually made from tap water.

Is The Food in Peru Safe?

Yes, the food in Peru is safe to eat – it’s also some of the finest in the world, as the nation boasts internationally award-winning cuisine and restaurants. Between feasting on gourmet delicacies, you’ll find that the everyday local fare is hearty and typically served in generous portions. The important thing to pay attention to is whether your food is hot, cold, or precut.

When ordering hot meals, you can feel comfortable and confident about trying whatever looks good – soups, pastas, rice, and warm vegetable and fruit dishes have all been thoroughly cooked. Ceviche (a cold seafood dish) is a popular item that also tends to be a safe bet because in this unique dish, the acidity of citrus fruit juice is used to ‘cook’ seafood.

What you’ll really need to be careful about are cold dishes. Salads might be a healthy option back home, but when traveling to countries where the water isn’t safe to drink, they can make you ill; that’s because the vegetables are usually cleaned with tap water. Precut fruit may seem innocent enough at the morning breakfast buffet, but again, these foods were likely rinsed with tap water. You should only partake of these foods if you are certain they have been prepared using purified water.

One last tip – remember to wash your hands before eating, and carry hand sanitizer with you for those times when soap and water isn’t available.

Is It Safe to Eat The Local Fruits and Vegetables in Peru?

Yes, fruits and vegetables are safe to eat in Peru. When served in hot dishes, you should feel free to sample the country’s delicious produce. However, in order to avoid getting traveler's diarrhea, it's a good idea to only eat fruits and veggies that you have to peel, such as oranges and bananas.

Unless you know for a fact that fruits and vegetables have been cleaned with bottled water (such as picking up fresh goodies from the market yourself), you have to assume that the produce has been cleaned with tap water. This same precaution must be extended to drinks as well – fresh fruit juice may have been blended with tap water.

How to Stay Safe Outdoors During Your Vacation in Peru?

Whether your adventures take you to the beach or trekking through the Andes, you’ll want to take some precautions during your outdoor adventures. From wearing the appropriate clothing to on hikes to protecting your skin while you have fun in the sun, these are the top tips for staying safe outside during your vacation in Peru.

How to Stay Safe at The Beach in Peru?

Peru is a tropical country and can be quite hot in places. To avoid heat exhaustion, drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activity on hot days. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat, loose fitting clothing, and always apply plenty of sunscreen.

On the flip side, Peru’s higher elevation areas can be cold and rainy, and create conditions in which hypothermia may occur. To prevent hypothermia, wear artificial fibers (like polypropylene or fleece) that wick away moisture, and bring several layers of clothing during a hike. You should also drink water and eat and regularly while exerting yourself in cold conditions.

Is It Safe to Swim in The Ocean in Peru?

Yes, it is safe to swim in the ocean in Peru. The nation is actually a popular destination for surfing and has opportunities to swim with sea lions in their natural habitat, so you can certainly get into the water!

Keep in mind that although surfers do spend some time swimming in the water, more often than not they are on their boards. As a swimmer in Peru’s ocean waters, you’re going to want to head for calm beaches with minimal waves, such as Punta Sal . This is especially important if you are swimming from a secluded section of beach or during a time when a lifeguard is not on duty. Not sure where the best swimmer’s beach is in relation to the rest of your Peruvian destinations? No worries! Your Anywhere Local Expert can answer all of your questions and make the best recommendations for your needs.

Are National Parks and Reserves Safe in Peru?

Yes, Peru’s national parks and reserves are safe. The most important thing is to stay on the recommended trails – these have been designed to show you the area in the safest manner possible. You will enjoy your time even more when you go on a guided tour. Learn about the history and biodiversity of the area you’re visiting, spot animals in their favorite hangouts, ask questions and get them answered in real time. Get the most out of your experience when you add educational fun to your outdoor adventures!

Are There Hurricanes or Earthquakes in Peru?

Yes, earthquakes do occur in Peru, but nearly 4 million travelers successfully enjoy vacations in the country annually, and that number is only continuing to grow. The reason earthquakes are a fairly common occurrence in Peru (especially around Lima) is because it is situated along the boundary between two tectonic plates – the Nazca Plate and South American Plate – near the nation’s coast. The South American Plate is moving towards the Pacific Ocean over the Nazca Plate; the pressure between these two plates is periodically released and an earthquake ensues.

In the past century, this shifting plate has resulted in 1 to 5 earthquakes per decade, which have registered between 6 and 9 on the richter scale. Earthquakes are hard to predict, but Peru will probably continue to experience them in the future. If you're traveling in Peru during an earthquake, try to follow these basic guidelines:

Don't use elevators, and avoid using the stairs (stairs move differently from the rest of buildings and are therefore dangerous).

If you are indoors, drop to the ground and take cover under a table or other piece of furniture. Hold on until the shaking stops. Stay away from windows and anything that could fall on you.

If you are outside, move away from buildings, street lights, power lines, and anything that could fall on you. Walk to the closest safety areas. Safety areas are marked with signs that have a big "S" or a yellow circle on the street with the letter "S". These areas have been designated as safe.

If you're at the beach during an earthquake, immediately seek higher ground. A tsunami can sometimes follow an earthquake.

Peru has also had to deal with serious flooding, some of which was the result of El Niño. Hurricanes rarely hit Peru. That's because the waters off the coast of Peru are cooled by the cold waters of the Humboldt Current. Hurricanes tend to form in areas with warmer water.

Although nature is unpredictable, your Anywhere Local Expert can help you assess Peru’s weather based on your travel needs. Enjoy your vacation more when you have a plan in place. In the event of a natural disaster, discuss where you will meet ahead of time with your traveling companions, and take note of the closest exit at your hotel.

Are There Many Snakes In Peru?

Yes, there are a lot of snakes in Peru. Approximately 200 species call the country home – 30 of which are native. The majority of these reptiles call Peru’s portion of the Amazon Rainforest home, so you don’t need to worry about stepping on them as you walk down the streets of Lima!

If you fancy a bit of herpetology (the study of reptiles), then a more rugged adventure may allow you to spot the Peru Coral Snake (Micrurus Peruvianus), Pygmy Moss Snake (Umbrivaga Pygmaea), Green Vinesnake (Oxybelis fulgidus), and even boas.

Are There Many Insects In Peru?

Yes, there are many different types of insects in Peru. The nation contains a portion of the Amazon Rainforest, which is home to an estimated 2.5 million insects. In Peru, butterflies alone consist of approximately 450 species. If you’re a fan of entomology (the study of insects), then you’ll be excited to spot wiggling sawfly larvae attached to tree trunks, tiger moths, tarantulas, leaf cutter ants, and more. Keep in mind that your mileage may vary – your best chance of spotting insects will be on adventurous tours that take you into the jungle, because these critters aren’t known for living in Peru’s urban cities.

Are There Many Mosquitoes in Peru?

No, there are not many mosquitoes in Peru due to the country’s high altitude. However, that does not mean that the country has zero mosquitoes. Most of Peru is mosquito-free; the only places where you are likely to encounter mosquitoes is in lowland areas around the Amazon Basin, as well as other rainforests and cloud forests. Some travelers have been bitten by mosquitos at Machu Picchu. Mosquitoes can carry diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue, so it's important to protect yourself by using insect repellent (which you may want to spray on your clothes), and wearing long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved pants. Ticks can transmit Chagas’ disease, so these are good methods to keep them at bay too. Sleeping in rooms with screens over the windows and/or mosquito netting is also a good idea.

How to Stay Healthy on Vacation in Peru?

What’s worse than getting sick before your vacation? Getting sick during your vacation. From traveler’s diarrhea to altitude sickness, getting ill puts a damper on your getaway. Follow these tips to keep yourself in tip-top condition so that you can enjoy every moment of your adventures in Peru.

Do I Need to Take Malaria Pills or Get Certain Vaccinations for a Trip to Peru?

No, you do not need vaccinations, malaria pills, or other medicines to travel to Peru – this is because no vaccinations are officially required to enter the country. That being said, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends ensuring that you’re up-to-date on your typhoid and hepatitis A shots before traveling to Peru; although again, neither are required.

If you’ll be traveling in the Amazon jungle, below 7,550 feet (2,300 m), then you may also want to get a yellow fever vaccination. Again, a yellow fever vaccination is not required to enter Peru unless you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is endemic. While traveling in the Amazon it’s also a good idea to take malaria pills (malaria prophylaxis).

Hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended for health care workers (or others who may be exposed to blood), travelers planning on getting a tattoo, and those who plan on staying in Peru for more than six months. You should also be up-to-date on your vaccinations against chickenpox (varicella), measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, and polio, which means you will have needed to receive your booster shots within the past 10 years. An annual flu shot is recommended as well.

Most shots take about two weeks to be effective, so it’s recommended to schedule your vaccinations at least 2–4 weeks before traveling. Some shots may require second or third visits. Health conditions and vaccination recommendations do change, however, so it’s best to check with your doctor for current requirements before traveling. For up-to-date information on the health conditions in Peru, please visit the CDC website .

What Should I Do in Case of An Emergency in Peru?

When you’re on vacation, you hope for nothing but the best; however, to truly put your mind at ease, it’s important to prepare for the worst. Purchasing travel insurance and keeping in touch with your Anywhere Local Expert is just the start of being prepared for an emergency during your vacation in Peru. Learn what to expect if you have a condition that may require medical attention or find yourself in the midst of a medical emergency in Peru.

Oh! One quick tip before you keep reading: It’s always a good idea to keep your home country’s embassy emergency telephone number on hand. For American citizens, the Peruvian U.S. Embassy’s emergency telephone numbers are…

  • (01) 618-2000 if dialing from Peru.
  • [011] +51-1-618-2000 if dialing from the United States.

For more information about how the embassy can assist you during an emergency, please visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Peru .

What Are the Medical Facilities Like in Peru?

Peru has an excellent healthcare system. Medium and larger cities will have several government hospitals and a range of private clinics. The clinics are usually high-tech and personalized, and the state hospitals provide excellent healthcare. Even small villages will usually have a medical post and pharmacies offering you easy access to basic medications. The doctors in Peru are university-trained and competent.

The hospitals in Lima are the best in the country; serious medical problems should be addressed here. It’s recommended to look into international medical policies – nearly all of them will cover evacuation to your home country if needed. Insurance companies may deal directly with hospitals in Lima, but in other destinations, travelers might be required to pay in cash and then seek reimbursement later.

If I Need Medicine, Can I Easily Get It in Peru?

Yes, you can easily get medicine while traveling in Peru. There are pharmacies (farmacias) scattered across Peru. Larger cities like Lima, Arequipa, Cusco, Puno, Chiclayo, and Trujillo have ample pharmacies, while smaller towns usually have only one or two. Many pharmacies are open 24-hours a day. Drugs are fairly inexpensive and prescriptions are usually not necessary. However, prescriptions are required for antibiotics, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.

Should I Bring Altitude Medicine to Peru?

Yes, you should bring altitude medicine to Peru, and here’s why – one thing you’ll have to contend with almost anywhere you’ll want to visit is the altitude. Generally, you don’t think of this when going on vacation because it doesn’t really come up, unless you’re going on a mountaineering expedition such as Anywhere’s Kilimanjaro Trek or Mount Everest Base Camp Trek . However, Peru as a country is relatively high in elevation. Mountainous Andean regions such as Cusco are at 11,150 feet (3,400 m), which make altitude sickness a common concern when visiting some of Peru’s most popular destinations.

Right now, you’re probably wondering how you may be able to tell whether or not you’re suffering from altitude sickness – after all, a little bit of huffing and puffing is normal during a strenuous hike, isn’t it? Symptoms of altitude sickness include fatigue, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. You’ll be able to tell the difference between altitude sickness and a hike that tests your endurance.

So how do you beat, or better yet prevent, altitude sickness? Well, there is no way to avoid altitude sickness entirely, because there’s not really any way around taking your body from one elevation to the next. Your best bet is to minimize the effects of altitude sickness by acclimatizing for a day or two and drinking plenty of water before engaging in outdoor activities. Doctors can also prescribe acetazolamide (typically referred to by the brand name Diamox) to help treat altitude sickness. Peruvians support coca leaf tea as a cure, and it seems to work.

How to Stay Safe While Traveling in Peru?

The best way to stay safe while traveling in Peru is to use the same common sense that would serve you well in any of the world’s countries – don’t flash money and expensive items, don’t get publicly drunk, don’t pick fights, and do try to be as culturally sensitive as possible. For more specific details, including everything from walking to using public transportation, continue reading this portion of the guide...

Is It Safe to Walk in Peru?

Yes, it is safe to walk in Peru if you stick to designated plazas in the city and walking trails when out in nature. In urban settings, you’ll want to pay extra attention when crossing the street – especially when in an area with a busy road. The attitude of “pedestrians always have the right of way” does not exist in Peru. Motorists view the road as their space, so the onus is on you to stay out of their way.

Although this is foreign territory, it’s important that you walk with a purpose. Appear confident; if someone happens to be following you, rather than act mousy and skittish, it’s actually advisable to make strong eye contact – stopping and staring them down indicates that you are aware of your surroundings and their presence, which makes it difficult for them to ‘run up on you’.

Try not to look lost, even if you’re uncertain where you’re going. You may be used to safely relying on your smartphone back home, but that’s a bad idea in Peru – the same goes for fussing over a paper map or guidebook. If you aren’t on a group walking tour, then it’s best to book transportation, or at least stop by a cafe to get your bearings or ask for directions. Bonus? You get to enjoy a nice refreshment before continuing your journey.

When it comes to walking at night, don’t ! Male, female, alone, with a group...it doesn’t matter. It is not advisable to wander around Peru alone at night – especially if the area is deserted or in a questionable neighborhood. Play it safe and take a taxi; better yet, use Anywhere’s clean, comfortable, and reliable transportation services .

If you are a woman walking, especially alone, ignore any catcalls you may receive. As upsetting as it is, the best course of action is to ignore these ‘gentlemen’ and keep it moving – go on about your business without acknowledging them.

One final piece of advice: if you have not already, please learn some Spanish. Even a basic command will help you when asking for directions or communicating a threat to your safety.

Is It Safe to Drive in Peru?

No, not really. You can drive in Peru, but it is not advisable. Generally, driving yourself around is seen as a freedom, but in Peru, it’s a burden. The rules of the road are very different from what you’re used to at home:

Pedestrians do not have the right of way and are expected to look out for vehicles, rather than have vehicles looking out for them.

Drivers jockey for position and basically fight for control of the road – there is no courtesy, only a very aggressive and macho style of driving.

In Peru, the buses and taxis receive top priority – mostly because they take it by force. Buses especially have the heft to intimidate other drivers as they careen down the road.

Speaking of roads, do not expect Peru’s to be well-maintained. When updates are made to infrastructure, it’s often haphazard and even more inconvenient than your usual repair – think redirecting traffic or standing in the middle of the road to do work without proper warning signage or detour notices.

One more thing, horns are beloved and used liberally. Whether the driver is signaling, “I’m going to pass,” or “You can pass,” is up to you to decipher. In Peru, when a fellow driver honks at you they are sending you a message – hopefully you’ll figure out what it is before you get cut off or sideswiped.

Bottom line, Peru’s style of driving is so aggressive and unique that this is the one time you’re better off not trying to fit in with the locals. Choose Anywhere’s transportation services – leave the driving to local professionals and spend your vacation enjoying the scenery, instead of leaning on your horn and cursing.

Are Taxis Safe in Peru?

Yes, taxis in Peru are safe, so long as you’re being driven by a reputable driver. If you read the previous section, then you’re aware of how Peruvians approach ‘the rules of the road’; if you didn’t read it, here’s what you need to know about taxi drivers in Peru:

Expect the horn to be used liberally.

Drivers are much more aggressive than you’re used to back home.

Motorists can seem erratic as they jockey for position while navigating the roads.

Taxi drivers and bus drivers have deemed themselves the most important vehicles on the road.

Here’s a tip that you may find surprising – in Peru, you’ll want to agree on the price of your fare before your ride. Pay attention to where you’re going; this isn’t just to get your bearings, it’s also to ensure that your driver isn’t circling the same area to make the cost of your fare go up (yet another reason to agree to a price before you get in).

Sit behind the driver and lock your doors. Like every place in the world, Peru is not immune from crime. In the event that you end up with a legitimate taxi driver who decides to misbehave or is in cahoots with thieves, sitting behind the driver makes it more difficult to grab you or snatch money out of your hands. As for locking your door, thieves in Peru are bold – and tugging on the handles of stopped vehicles until one finds an unlocked door is common practice. Unfortunately, it’s a great way of relieving stunned motorists and passengers of some of their belongings before dashing off.

There is nothing wrong with hopping into a reputable taxi, but for the best experience possible, we humbly recommend that you use Anywhere’s transportation services. Local drivers operate clean, cool, well-maintained vehicles, and get you from point A to point B promptly and safely.

Is Public Transportation in Peru Safe?

In all honesty, no, public transportation is not your safest option for exploring Peru. The problem with public transportation in Peru is that it can be hit or miss. Rickety old buses clearly past their prime speed down roads, but modern, well-maintained buses can also be found. When riding a bus in Peru, you will get what you pay for – the cheapest option will also be the most worrisome experience.

Peruvians have a very aggressive way of driving that can seem erratic to visitors; couple that with winding mountainous roads and it’s easy to be nervous if you’re used to well-maintained roads and ‘courtesy waves’. Barreling down a road in an oversized jalopy won’t exactly calm your nerves, so spring for one of the nation’s major transportation operators, including (but not limited to) Civa, Cruz del Sur, Oltursa, or Ormeno and you’re likely to have a much better (and safer) experience.

There is one thing you must be careful of regardless of whether you choose an economical provider or a well-known provider and that’s keeping your luggage with you at all times. This is especially vital if you find yourself taking an overnight bus. It may seem counterintuitive, but rather than stow your luggage in the overhead compartment, choose the cargo hold on the side of the bus. That way your luggage remains secure until it is time for passengers to unload.

If Peru’s public transportation is your only option for reaching your next destination, choose wisely, spend wisely, and guard your belongings as well as you can. If possible, we advise you to choose Anywhere’s transportation services – let a local driver who operates a clean, cool, safe vehicle help you explore Peru. Shuttle options are available, so you can still economize without riding an infamous ‘chicken bus’.

Is Peru Dangerous?

No, Peru is no more dangerous than any other country or city – it’s all a matter of whether or not you use common sense and remain aware of your surroundings. The nation has its share of drugs and violence, but again, these do not have to impact you if you exercise prudence. Two of the biggest ways travelers get into trouble is being loud and intoxicated in public, and going too far off the beaten path in the quest for an ‘authentic experience’.

Anywhere you go, a drunkard is an obvious and easy target because he or she does not have their full wits and faculties about them. As for authentic experiences, they can be had without aimlessly wandering around a foreign country to “see where we end up”; Anywhere offers destinations in Peru off the beaten path for travelers who want to see more than the top tourist attractions. The best part? You can enjoy an authentic experience without putting yourself in peril. In fact, here’s an article about some of the unique Peruvian adventures you can have when you plan your getaway with an Anywhere Local Expert.

Overall, Peruvian people and culture are wonderful. During your trip to Peru, you will enjoy learning about ancient civilizations, shopping at colorful markets, and feasting upon delicious fusion cuisine. Compared to other Andean countries, Peru’s crime rate is the lowest in the region, making it safer than Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Colombia. Additionally, the nation’s steady economic growth throughout the 21st century has helped facilitate a decrease in overall violence. Furthermore, the tourism industry is actively working on increasing growth/attracting more visitors each year, which means Peru has a vested interest in continuously making strides to keep visitors safe. With this information and your Anywhere Local Expert never more than a(n) email, call, or text away, there’s no reason not to check Peru off of your bucket list.

What Places Are Dangerous in Peru?

Peru is a magical land in the Andes, and overall, its citizens are gracious and family oriented. However, no place is immune from bad actors and that includes Peru. Much of the violence in Peru can be traced to a single terrorist organization – Shining Path (Sendero Luminoso). This group started in the late 1950s in the Ayacucho region of Peru. It sprang from the Peruvian Communist Party (PCP) and was led by a professor of philosophy named Abimael Guzmán Reynoso. Eventually Guzmán formed a Maoist faction and split from the PCP. Unfortunately, radical groups found a welcome home in Ayacucho, a region where cuts to the educational system produced a deep resentment of the federal government.

In the 1990s, the Peruvian military managed to arrest key figures in the Shining Path organization. Nowadays, Shining Path’s influence is limited to rural areas, and as a result, Peru experiences a much lower level of violent crime. However, Shining Path still has a wide recruitment base. Younger Peruvians in rural areas may not want to become subsistence farmers, but lack the education necessary to find higher-paying employment in a city. For these underserved youths, Shining Path represents a way out of poverty.

Shining Path is still a problem in the provinces of Ayacucho, Cusco, Hancavelica, Huanuco, Ucayali, and Junin. Visitors should avoid traveling at night through these regions, even on buses; in fact, there are times when travel may not be permitted through these provinces after nightfall. Aside from Cusco, these regions do not have many tourist attractions and are easy to avoid with some planning. The Cusco region’s main attractions, including Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, and the city of Cusco, are safe destinations.

Throughout the more dangerous provinces in Peru, local self-defense groups called rondas campesinas work to keep Shining Path’s presence at a minimum. These groups will often stop travelers and demand a toll before allowing them to pass through the area. This is one of the reasons that traveling at night on highways in Peru is discouraged.

Is It Safe to Visit Peru Right Now?

Yes, you can safely visit Peru right now (as of the time this guidebook was published), but it’s always best to check with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (or your country’s equivalent) to verify the most up-to-date information regarding travel safety.

Your biggest concern when it comes to staying safe in Peru is going to be avoiding petty crimes, bad neighborhoods, and regions still plagued by the Shining Path (see previous section, ‘What Places Are Dangerous in Peru?’). Choosing a reputable travel agency is the best way to enjoy an adventure vacation because:

You have your Local Expert in your corner, and an entire local team available by email, telephone, and text/chat.

A comprehensive itinerary with accommodations, activities, and transportation means you are always expected somewhere – even if you’re traveling solo and don’t know anyone in-country.

Professionals know how to design an authentic experience, without sacrificing your safety. Accessing the unique adventures you crave has never been simpler.

How to Avoid Crime in Peru While on Vacation?

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating – common sense will take you a long way and keep you safe during your journey. The top ways to keep yourself safe during your travels in Peru are also the simplest:

Do not flash money around, especially in large amounts. Yes, you may need to carry cash because some destinations do not accept credit cards or have ATMs readily available, but there is no reason to carry more cash than you may realistically need for an outing.

In addition to not flashing cash, don’t be flashy in general – there is no need to wear your best jewelry when you’re hiking. Take your photographs and do not make a big deal about it; do not brag about or make a big production of your expensive equipment. Don’t leave electronics unattended, and that includes your smartphone, not just laptops and tablets; in fact, don’t bring these items at all unless it’s 100 percent necessary, after all, you’re on vacation!

Consider using an under the clothes money belt, fanny/hip pack, and even a ‘throwdown wallet’ – an old wallet filled with a small/negligible amount of cash and old gift cards or credit cards that you can literally throw down to get out of a sticky situation. The rationale is that most muggers, car jackers, etc. are so eager to make a quick getaway they’ll quickly snatch it up and run off.

Do not carry your passport around with you while out and about or on adventure excursions; carry photocopies of your information, and leave the original(s) secure in your hotel’s safe, or a secret compartment in your luggage.

Do not wander around – don’t stray from designated paths, leave your tour group, or venture down random alleys and side streets. This kind of aimless ‘exploring’ can lead you into a bad situation that could have easily been avoided.

If you get lost, order a drink at a cafe and get your bearings; ask the waitstaff for assistance. Do not walk around with a smartphone or even a map in hand and become engrossed and unaware of your surroundings.

Do your best to learn at least a little bit of Spanish so that you can better communicate if you do have an emergency.

How is The Crime in Peru for Tourists?

Most crimes against tourists have nothing to do with cocaine or terrorism. They are instead motivated by poverty. Lima’s large underserved population has created an environment of persistent petty theft. It’s unfortunate, but to put it into perspective: travelers = unspoken wealth. Whether it’s a luxury vacation or a budget vacation, you can afford international airfare, accommodations, food, fun activities, and souvenirs in the same country someone else is struggling to survive in – all while maintaining your life/residence in your home country. Is robbing you wrong? Of course, but to a petty thief, you can clearly afford the loss, and you’ll still be able to return home – unlike them, you won’t starve due to this.

As a traveler, you must be wary of situations that put you at risk of robbery. Thefts usually occur in areas with large numbers of tourists. High levels of petty theft have been reported in areas like Plaza de Armas and Plaza San Martin in Lima, as well as the Sacsayhusaman site in Cusco.

Keep your eyes open for purse-snatchers and pickpockets. Use common sense measures to keep your belongings safe. If you carry a handbag or purse, make sure it closes securely. Keep your valuables where you can see them, and make sure to leave your most valuable possessions locked in a safety deposit box at your hotel. Electronics such as tablets and smartphones are some of the items most commonly stolen from tourists – they’re easy to grab and go when someone is focused on their device instead of their surroundings.

How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling in Peru?

The best way to keep your money safe when vacationing in Peru (or anywhere, really) is to not flash it around. People can’t take what they don’t know you have. Putting yourself on display by flashing a lot of cash is not only in poor taste, it’s incredibly foolish. As we’ve mentioned before, don’t carry large sums of money while out and about.

True, some of Peru’s adventures in remote destinations will mean that you may not have access to credit card machines or ATMs, however that means there’s even less reason to carry a lot of money on you – you’ll have a difficult time replacing it. Take what you need relative to the task at hand; if you’re visiting a marketplace, you may want to buy souvenirs and therefore will need a little more pocket money; if you’re going on a hike, perhaps you’ll want to purchase a bottle of water, which doesn’t require you to carry a lot of cash. It’s all common sense.

If you read “How to Avoid Crime in Peru While on Vacation?”, then you will already be aware of some additional tips. If you did not – consider using an under the clothes money belt or a fanny/hip pack, rather than a wallet that someone can pickpocket or a purse that can have the straps cut or otherwise be easily snatched.

Want even more peace of mind? Carry a ‘throwdown’ wallet. If you get in a jam, this is an old or inexpensive wallet that has a small amount of cash, used gift cards, or expired credit cards that you can literally throw down for a would-be mugger. They’ll either grab it and go, or you can make your escape while they collect their ill-gotten ‘treasures’.

Is Crime a Problem in Peru?

No, crime is not a problem in Peru anymore than it is elsewhere in the world. In other words, Peru has crime (like every other nation on Earth), but it’s nothing you can’t avoid with a little common sense. Peru has a well-deserved reputation as a safe country to visit. Travelers to Peru can feel confident exploring villages in the Andes and cities along the northern coast. Peruvians are known for their hospitality and friendliness, and typically make a positive impression on visitors. Follow the advice in the previous sections (especially “How to Avoid Crime in Peru While on Vacation”?) and you should have a great time.

Is Peru Safer Than Mexico?

Peru vs. Mexico – each country boasts beautiful scenery, ruins, and a rich and colorful history. With so many similarities, how do you choose between themt? More importantly, how do you decide which country is safer? In all honesty, both Peru and Mexico have their share of issues with petty theft, drugs, vandalism, and other types of crime, which is why we keep reiterating that it all comes down to common sense.

What we can say is that Peru is making a concerted effort to not only maintain, but increase the annual amount of travelers who come and enjoy the country. Naturally, making sure that travelers have a safe and positive experience is a significant part of ensuring that visitors keep adding Peru to their bucket lists.

From Machu Picchu to the Floating Islands of Uros , there are so many magical things to experience in Peru. You can see them all comfortably and confidently when you choose to travel with Anywhere, our in-country Local Experts have relationships with the hotels, tour providers, and drivers you’ll be using throughout your trip. Have a question or need assistance after you’ve arrived in Peru? You can count on Anywhere’s help and guidance until you land back home. So, when you choose Peru over Mexico, you’re also choosing the ongoing support we offer every step of your journey.

Is Peru Safer Than Ecuador?

Peru vs. Ecuador; the same crimes that are found in other countries in the world are found here. When it comes to remaining safe in these neighboring nations, what you really need to remain aware of is where you visit. Lima, Peru and Guayaquil, Ecuador are two destinations where it’s important to follow the advice of your Anywhere Local Expert, as well as your itinerary. It’s easy to find yourself in an unsafe situation if you don’t know these areas; meanwhile a travel professional will ensure that your accommodations, activities, and transportation keep you away from unsavory neighborhoods from the get-go.

Both Ecuador and Peru are stunning in their own right, but these two Andean countries can offer a very different experience. In Ecuador, you can enjoy plenty of Spanish-Colonial architecture, the Galapagos Islands, and even surfing . In Peru, you’re going to spend most of your time exploring the landscape, learning about traditional customs, and enjoying cultural exchanges. Since Anywhere offers our expertise in each of these destinations, it’s less about which country is safer and more a matter of determining what adventures you want to experience on your next getaway.

Why is Peru Safe to Visit?

Peru is safe to visit because the government and tourism board has a vested interest in ensuring that travelers continue to enjoy everything the nation has to offer. From wonders such as the Nazca Lines and Machu Picchu, to internationally award-winning cuisine and even a museum filled with golden treasures , Peru continues to gain notoriety as a “travel must” – and the nation intends to keep it that way. That means making sure visitors have a pleasant and safe time. This , all of the common sense tips you’ve received in this guide, and the ongoing support of your Anywhere Local Expert are all you need to spend your time in Peru enjoying adventure after adventure.

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Is Peru Safe? What to Know about Peru Safety for Tourists

A tourist in Cusco lifting his sunglasses to look at something, amidst a crowd of people.

Peru is a beautiful destination with a rich culture and history. But is Peru safe for tourists? Absolutely! Although Peru is still a developing country, it has made great strides in tourist infrastructure and is just as safe as many other popular tourist destinations. Below we have outlined all the information about safety in Peru that travelers need to take into consideration before their vacation. Following a few general guidelines will make your trip not only safe but also unforgettable!

For safety information regarding Covid-19, please review our updated post about coronavirus in Peru .

Table of contents

Crime Social conflict Transportation Tours Natural disasters Safety tips FAQs

Like many other destinations, petty crime is the most common form of crime in Peru. Pickpockets may wander through crowded areas. Muggers may also cause a distraction in order to more easily steal someone’s belongings. In rare instances, someone may commit armed robbery with a knife or gun. However, in the more touristy areas of Peru, theft is no more rampant than in other popular travel destinations. When traveling somewhere new, whether it’s Peru or a more developed country, it is always important to be aware of your surroundings. Keep valuables out of sight either in a hidden belt or in a completely closed purse or backpack while walking around. Also avoid isolated areas, especially at night.

A man and woman stand at the corner of a building in Cusco while they look at a map.

Always be sure to walk in well-lit, populated streets. Check a map if necessary to keep you on the right path! Photo by Ana Castañeda.

Money scams

A common problem that travelers face is counterfeit currency. Normally, counterfeiters focus on large bills, such as 100 and 200 soles notes. However, it is possible to stumble upon fake coins as well. It can be tricky to spot fake currency, especially when it’s foreign. Before you go, be sure read our blog on learning how to spot fake Peruvian currency . It is highly recommended to break large bills at trustworthy establishments such as grocery stores or banks in order to avoid counterfeit money.

Although uncommon, tourists can fall victim to credit card fraud in Peru. Untrustworthy establishments can make a copy of someone’s credit card, or devices can be placed in ATMs to copy card information. In order to avoid this, make sure that cashiers keep your card in sight and use ATMs that are located inside banks or supermarkets with security guards. It’s common practice in Peru as well for waiters or staff to bring you the POS when you decide to pay for meals at restaurants or cafes .

Peruvian coins on top of Peruvian bills inside of a box lined with red woven Andean textile.

Although it’s more common to receive counterfeit bills, you should take a quick look at your coins, too. Image : by Amelia Wells , used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

Social conflict

On the whole, Peru is a calm and peaceful country. However, protests occur from time to time. These are most common in the capital city of Lima and in Cusco.

Protests in Lima mostly center around national politics, and these demonstrations are often peaceful. It’s common to see police officers with police shields lining the Plaza de Armas outside the Presidential Palace during any sort of event in the area, big or small. Their presence shouldn’t be cause for alarm when touring the historic center.

Cusco and Machu Picchu are other common regions for protests. These tend to correspond with new regulations that have economic consequences for workers. Since Cusco is a major hub for tourism in Peru, these demonstrations will often take place during the high tourist season (May-September). This allows the most economic impact for their cause.

Protests in Cusco usually involve blocking roads and train tracks. In some instances, protesters may throw rocks and light tires on fire. Although this is not done with the intention to harm tourists, travelers should always avoid protests. A helpful tip is to set a Google alert for Peruvian current events to stay up to date before your trip.

Violent conflict

During the 1980s and 1990s, Peru suffered from violent internal conflict. This conflict pitted the Peruvian government against the Maoist guerilla militia Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. The majority of the fighting took place in the most rural regions of Peru. Even still, the violence from both sides took its toll on thousands of civilians.

The government under President Alberto Fujimori defeated both guerrilla groups in the 1990s. Today, small factions of the Shining Path terrorist group exist in the most remote parts of the country. Even so, tourist destinations are completely free of these fighters.

There are only two areas that tourists shouldn’t visit. Luckily, these areas are far away from the most popular places to visit in Peru. One is the VRAEM, located in the rural mountains between Ayacucho and Cusco. Here, Shining Path members are still active, as well as illicit coca traders. (Coca can only be grown legally if destined for local and traditional use, such as for chewing and making tea).

The second area that tourists should avoid is the deep Peruvian Amazon. This is especially true for the Colombian border. This is due, for the most part, to illegal drug and mining operations. In any case, there are no tourist sites in the VRAEM or Amazonian borders.

Four Peruvian police officers standing with shields in front of the Presidential Palace.

It’s a common sight to see police officers standing in front of the Presidential Palace in Lima’s historic center. Image  by F Delventhal , used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

It’s common to see police officers with police shields lining the Plaza de Armas outside the Presidential Palace during any sort of event in the area, big or small. Their presence shouldn’t be cause for alarm when touring the historic center.


A taxi is parked in front of a row of arches on Cusco's Plaza de Armas as people walk by.

Always use a reputable taxi company when traveling in Peru. Your hotel can call one for you if you need! Image by Adrian Dascal on Unsplash .

The best way to get around in Peru, outside of guided tours, is by taxi. It is recommended that you call a vetted taxi company or have your hotel call one for you. Airports also have official taxi companies inside the building that have fixed rates around the city. In Lima, it is also possible to call a taxi with a number of taxi apps, including Uber, Taxi Beat, and Cabify.

When hailing a taxi on the street, you risk getting an unreliable driver, unreliable vehicle, or both. It is quite common for street taxis to be missing seatbelts and to be in generally poor conditions. Plus, taxis in Peru do not use meters and the fare must be negotiated before getting in. If you’re unsure of distances or what rates to expect, the driver has the advantage of overcharging.

Public transportation

Public transportation can be very complicated for foreigners, especially those with limited Spanish. You won’t find any route maps and timetables to tell you how to get to your destination. Instead, you would need to rely on asking locals and bus drivers. This makes using public transportation as a tourist risky. Unless you have a good level of Spanish, as well as a good sense of direction, there’s a high chance that you’ll end up in an unfamiliar and potentially unsafe part of town. This is also true for colectivos, large public vans, that have routes between rural towns and villages. A misunderstanding on a colectivo could mean ending up in a place where they don’t speak Spanish at all, only Quechua .

Renting a car and traffic

If you decide to rent a car in Peru , be extra vigilant when getting behind the wheel. Driving conditions, in general, are poorer in Peru than in developed countries. Roads may be poorly maintained or unpaved, especially in rural areas. Also, mountain roads are notorious for being narrow, winding, and having steep drop-offs. It is not recommended to drive on these roads at night.

Other advice when it comes to getting around is to pay attention to traffic when out in the city. This is true whether you are driving or walking. If driving, be respectful of traffic flow whether or not those around you are following the rules of the road. Local drivers can be aggressive, so be sure to remain calm. If you decide to hoof it, always look both ways when crossing the street, even if you have a green pedestrian light.

Adventure tours

Tourism is the third major industry in Peru. You will find a wide variety of local agencies from very posh services to basic ones. It is always recommended that you check the reputation of the tour agency you choose to go with. If not for safety—a Cusco City Tour is probably the safest tour out there—at least to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

Five people in yellow shirts and red helmets raft down a river.

It may be a bit more expensive, but it’s well worth booking an adventure tour with a reputable provider in order to ensure your safety. Image : By Rupert Taylor-Price . Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

Checking that an agency is reputable is especially true for adventure tours. Adventure tours include everything from hiking to horseback riding, ATV tours, kayaking and zip lining. These activities require strict regulations to ensure the safety of tourists. Adventure tour guides should be specifically trained for the activity, as well as first aid. If special equipment is needed, like ATVs and kayaks, it should also be properly maintained.

Peru has come a long way in its regulation of tourism. However, regulations still aren’t uniformly enforced. Some adventure tour providers may be operating informally and thus not adhering to safety rules. Although not common, accidents can occur during adventure tours with informal providers with disastrous outcomes.

Machu Picchu Tours:

Overlooking the Incan citadel Machu Picchu surrounded by mountains with clouds in the sky

Spiritual tours

While some may come to Peru looking for adventure, others may seek out a more spiritual experience. Peru has a long history of spiritual connections to the Pachamama , or Mother Earth, from Incan civilization to remote Amazon tribes.

A shaman in a beaded hat with ear flaps and red poncho holds up a package in a rural landscape.

Having a local shaman help you connect to the Pachamama can be a very rewarding experience. Image : By McKay Savage . Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

A popular spiritual experience that travelers seek in Peru is the ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca is a vine native to the Amazon jungle that has hallucinogenic properties. For generations, Amazonian shamans have used the vine to connect with the spirits of the natural world. However, reaching the level of a shaman takes years of practice. Although ayahuasca ceremonies can still be an eye-opening experience for beginners, for others it can lead to health concerns. Although vomiting and physical discomfort are common during the ceremony, some can experience worse effects, such as paranoic episodes.

Since you will be in an altered state of mind, it’s extremely important that you are in a safe environment. Untrustworthy providers could put your life at risk if you need medical attention during your ceremony. Moreover, fake spiritual guides can take advantage of participants when they are in a vulnerable state. For these reasons, Peru For Less chooses not to provide any services related to Ayahuasca. If you decide to include a ceremony during you trip to Peru, it will have to be planned yourself.

Saftey at Peru For Less

Peru is truly an incredible destination to travel to. The country itself is filled with culture, delicious food, and beautiful scenery. Just like any trip, it is essential to be well prepared for anything that can happen. In order to make your experience in Peru more seamless, organizing your trip through a reputable travel agency can make your trip safer and more enjoyable. Here at Peru for less, our team is well prepared to solve any issue that may arise with our 24/7 emergency contact phone number that will be able to give you immediate assistance. Feel free to contact one of our Travel Advisors about more information by filling out our Traveler Form .

Natural disasters

Peru’s geography is diverse and breathtakingly beautiful. But certain areas are prone to varying degrees of inclement weather and natural disasters.


Overall, Peru is prone to different types of natural disasters. The most common natural disaster that occurs would be earthquakes since Peru lies in an active earthquake zone. There are frequent small earthquakes near the coastal region of Peru and also in the Andean mountain range. If you begin to feel an earthquake while indoors, whether in Peru or anywhere else, be sure to stay away from windows and cover your head by going under any solid furniture such as a strong table. If you are outside, try to get to an open area as quickly as possible and away from tall buildings, trees, or landlines.

A green sign with a white wave and arrow says, "Tsunami, ruta de evacuación. Evacuation route."

Lima is well marked with tsunami evacuation routes from Lima’s beaches and meeting points in case of an earthquake. Image : By KaMpErƎ & Le-tticia . Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

Floods and Landslides

The Peruvian rainy season runs from November to April. During this time, the Andes mountain range and Amazon jungle experience heavy rainfall. It is possible that floods and landslides can occur affecting the roads and railways in the Cusco area as well as walkways in the Amazon Jungle. Be cautious when traveling in these areas during the rainy season and be sure to check with your Travel Advisor about the weather conditions before beginning your journey.

Volcanic Eruptions

Peru is located in the “Ring of Fire,” and is home to over 30 volcanoes with a little less than half being classified as extinct. Many of these volcanoes, active or extinct, lie in the Andean mountain range of Southern Peru. The most visited destinations with volcanoes nearby are Arequipa and Colca Canyon. The city of Arequipa is surrounded by three volcanoes, with the snow-capped El Misti being the most famous of the three. While these volcanoes are absolutely stunning, it is important to pay attention to all volcanic eruption warnings such as frequent earthquakes in the area. If a volcano were to erupt during your trip, it is important to avoid breathing in the volcanic ash which you can do by staying indoors with all doors and windows shut.

General Safety tips

  • Keep valuables safely stowed out of sight in a money belt, purse, or backpack.
  • Leave expensive or flashy jewelry in your hotel safe (or at home).
  • Walk on well-lit and populated streets.
  • Use reputable tour and transportation services.
  • Drink filtered or bottled water.
  • Stay well hydrated and protect yourself from the sun.
  • Wear insect repellent in tropical and subtropical regions of Peru.
  • Pay attention to traffic when walking or driving.
  • Make copies of important documents, like passports, visas, and credit cards. Keep them in a safe place in case of theft.

Safety FAQs

Is peru safe for travel alone.

Yes. T raveling to Peru alone is perfectly safe. Just take the same precautions you would while traveling anywhere else in the world. Pay attention to your surroundings, stick to well-lit and frequented areas, and keep valuables securely stowed.

Is Peru safe for solo female travelers?

Yes, it is safe to visit Peru as a solo female traveler. We even have a guide dedicated to women traveling solo .

A young woman in a sagging gray knit beanie and light, puffy, dark blue jacket walks through a Peruvian souvenir market.

Peru is a great destination for solo women travelers. Just take the same precautions you would at any other popular tourist destination. Image : By Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash .

Is Peru safe to visit for kids?

Peru is a safe and great place to travel with kids of all ages. Many kids find Machu Picchu’s history fascinating . There are also tons of kid-friendly activities to do, such as hiking with llamas and chocolate making workshops.

Is Lima, Peru safe to visit?

Short answer: yes. Visiting Lima is just like visiting any other metropolitan area. There is, of course, a risk of petty-crime. But Lima is largely safe if you stick to the main touristic areas, such as Miraflores and Barranco. Take the same safety precautions you would when visiting any other city. Pay attention to your surroundings, keep valuables safe, and stick to well-lit and populated areas at night.

Note that for the historic center, since it is close to insecure areas, it is recommended to only visit during the day.

Is Cusco safe?

Yes. Cusco is a safe place for tourists to visit. It’s a small city with most of its tourist sites concentrated in the historic center and the adjoining hillside. Petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in Cusco, so pay attention to your surroundings and belongings.

Is Machu Picchu safe?

Yes. Machu Picchu is very safe for tourists. The archeological site itself has many security guards and tour guides keeping an eye on things. Aguas Calientes , the town at the bottom of the mountain, is small and very calm.

How can I keep my valuables safe during my Peru vacation?

Keep valuables like smartphones and wallets out of sight and secured inside a money belt, purse, or backpack. Leave any expensive or flashy jewelry in your hotel safe or back at home.

A black hotel safe with its door open and a keypad lock sits on a wooden night stand.

Keep your valuables locked up in your hotel safe when you’re out exploring. Image : By Marco Verch . Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

What does the Peru tourist police do?

During your visit to Peru you will likely see a number of “Tourist Police.” Peru’s tourist police specialize in the safety, protection, and orientation of tourists during their visit. They patrol commercial areas, hotels, archaeological sites, and museums. They also speak English fluently. If you find youself in need of any assistance feel free to ask them for help.

The tourist police’s phone number is 0800-22221.

How can I avoid getting altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness affects most people at and above 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) above sea level. There are a few ways to combat altitude sickness:

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat light meals on the first few days at high elevation.
  • Avoid strenuous activity during the first few days at high elevation.
  • Gradually travel to higher elevations (i.e., travel to the Sacred Valley first before circling back to Cusco).
  • Use local remedies, such as coca tea, if recommended by your doctor.
  • Use over-the-counter or prescription medication if recommended by your doctor.

Close up of a woman's hands holding a white mug of coca tea infused with whole coca leaves.

Coca tea is the local remedy for soroche , or altitude sickness. Image : By Nick Jewell . Used under CC BY 2.0 / Compressed from original.

Can you drink the tap water in Peru?

No. It is not safe to drink the tap water. While traveling in Peru, always drink filtered or bottled water.

Are there any vaccinations required for Peru?

Peru does not require any special vaccinations in order to enter the country. All travelers should, however, be up-to-date on their routine vaccinations. For special vaccine considerations, you can visit the CDC’s website or speak with a specialized travel doctor.

Should I bring malaria medication on my Peru trip?

Malaria does exist in the Amazon region of Peru. However, tourists visiting the Amazon for a relatively short time (a few days to a week) rarely catch the disease, especially if they are adequately protecting themselves from mosquitos. If you are planning to stay in the Amazon for a longer period of time or to visit more remote jungle locations, check with your doctor or a specialized travel doctor if you should bring malaria medication.

Is it safe to hail a taxi off the street in Peru?

It is a bit risky to hail a taxi off the street in Peru. Street taxis are sometimes poorly maintained, lack rear-seat seatbelts, or are unlicensed. It is more advisable to call a reputable taxi service (or use a taxi app if in Lima).

Is it safe to drive in Peru?

Although not particularly dangerous, driving conditions in Peru are not on the same level as more developed countries. In poor urban areas and more rural ones, road conditions may be poorly maintained. Some areas only have dirt roads and often are poorly marked. Highways through the mountains are notoriously narrow and winding. It is not recommended to drive on these roads at night.

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Stay safe when walking around the city by sticking to the sidewalk and watching for cars when you cross the road, even if you have the green light. Photo by Ana Castañeda for Peru For Less.

Are adventure tours safe in Peru?

Reputable adventure tour providers who regularly maintain their equipment and have valid certifications offer perfectly safe adventure tours. Do not reserve such a tour with a provider who is informally operating or doesn’t have proper certifications.

Are ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru safe?

Ayahuasca ceremonies can be a safe and enlightening experience so long as they are performed with participants’ health and safety in mind. It is easy to take advantage of someone under the influence of this hallucinogenic substance. Do your research and only go with a trustworthy shaman.

How frequent are earthquakes in Peru?

Earthquakes are difficult to predict. Peru may have a few earthquakes one year and none the next. These range in magnitude from minor rumbles to intense quakes like the 2007 earthquake

How frequent are tsunamis in Peru?

Tsunamis in this region are most often the result of earthquakes. This means that predicting a tsunami is just as difficult as predicting an earthquake. However, the good news is that a severe earthquake is necessary to create a tsunami and such powerful quakes are few and far between.

Should I get insurance before traveling to Peru?

It’s always a good idea to have travel insurance before any big international trip! Although Peru is a perfectly safe travel destination, things don’t always go according to plan. This could be because of inclement weather that cancels a flight or lost luggage from a connecting flight. Trip insurance ensures that your investment is protected.

Where can I stay up to date on Peru travel advisories and saftey alerts?

To stay up to date on current events in Peru, including Peru travel warnings and health notices, you can check the following:

  • US Embassy Peru
  • US State Department Peru
  • Andina (English language Peruvian newspaper)

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When you take basic safety precautions, you’re sure to have a fun and memorable trip! Image : By Ray Berry on Unsplash .

Although Peru is still developing, it has come a long way.  Today traveling to Peru is just like visiting any other international destination. By taking a few safety precautions, you are sure to have an enjoyable trip that will go off without a hitch. Not only is Peru safe, but it’s also welcoming for all travelers! Peru For Less would also like to let you know that Travel Advisories and conflicts listed on the United States travel website are far removed from the safe tourist areas you’ll be visiting.

Rest assured that when you book through Peru for Less, your trip will go smoothly. Feel free to Contact our team to plan your dream Peru vacation from start to finish.

Carli Tovar

Carli is originally from El Paso, Texas, but grew up moving around several different states in the United States. Eager for change once again, she decided to make her biggest move to Lima, Peru after graduating from University. Since living in Peru, Carli has discovered that she is quite passionate about Lima’s restaurant scene, yoga, and meeting new people.

Tags: crime in peru , Peru adventure , peru health , peru safety , peru travel safety , travel safety tips

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Is Lima Safe For Travel? Here’s What To Know

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There’s something really special about Peru. And Lima, its capital city, is packed with fantastic sights, food, and activities. But is Lima safe?

Yes! Lima is absolutely a safe place for travelers. But there are some things that people should keep in mind. Below, learn about COVID-19 in Lima, which scams to watch out for, and how to navigate the city as a solo traveler. 

No one knows a place like the people who live there. Connect with a local in Peru to start planning your trip. Learn more . 

Is Lima Safe To Visit During COVID-19?

First things first, is Peru safe to visit right now? Is the country even open? 

Peru is open for travel! Travelers — both vaccinated and unvaccinated —  must present a negative PCR test that is no more than 72 hours old or an antigen test that is no more than 24 hours old to enter the country. 

Before their arrival, all travelers must also complete a health declaration which can be filled out  on a Peruvian government site , or  using a service like iVisa, which expedites the process for a small fee . 

Just like anywhere else in the world, COVID-19 means that traveling to Peru comes with new risks. But travelers can take precautions by monitoring case levels, getting vaccinated, and complying with local rules like wearing a mask.   

By taking simple steps like that, you can reduce your risk of getting sick and enjoy all the incredible activities that Peru has to offer . 

Here’s What Travelers Need To Know About Lima Safety  

Not only is Lima fairly safe, but it’s also one of the best places to visit in Peru . Still, a city is a city. And travelers will need to take a couple of normal precautions to stay safe. 

For starters, educate yourself on Lima’s neighborhoods. Neighborhoods like Miraflores, Barranco, and San Isidro are popular among travelers and are considered fairly safe areas of Lima . (Of course, you’ll still want to take precautions as you would in any big city.)   

Though it’s subjective, other neighborhoods have a less sterling reputation. To get the full low-down on which neighborhoods in Lima to explore, and which ones to avoid, just ask someone who lives there . They can tell you how they navigate their hometown. 


Common Scams To Know In Lima

Just like in any city, scammers exist in Lima. Keep these safety tips in mind as you explore Lima and the rest of Peru:

  • Look out for pickpockets: Keep your phone use while out on the street minimal. Having your phone out all the time (or flashing other expensive items) makes you an attractive target for pickpockets. Plus, without your phone, you will be more aware of your surroundings which is always a good safety practice. 
  • Keep an eye on your drinks: Drink spiking is a common scam in Lima. To stay safe, only accept drinks you ordered from bartenders, waitstaff, etc. And never leave your drink unattended. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the currency and count your change: Be confident in your use of the local currency and you’re less likely to be a victim of skimming or overcharging.
  • Ignore catcalls: Just keep walking. 
  • Leave your valuables at home: If you don’t need it and you’d be heartbroken to lose it, don’t bring it. 
  • Choose ATMs carefully: Try to find ones inside banks or hotels, and always choose ones in well-lit, busy areas.  

There’s no reason to fear traveling in Lima. Use common sense, appear confident, and have fun. Locals can show you the best (and safest) places to go in Lima. 

What To Know About Transportation In Lima

There are many transportations options in Peru , but for safety and efficiency, Lima locals recommend taxis and microbuses called combis. 

Taxi tips: Choose private taxis over public taxis. Private ones are a little bit more expensive, but they are safer and more reliable, well worth the extra few dollars. Taxi Seguro is a reputable choice in Lima that you can call to schedule pick-ups, or try the app TaxiBeat . 

Combi tips: Hail these anywhere along their routes. You’ll recognize them from the many stickers on the microbus and (usually) a crowd of people already on board. Before you board, double-check the destination with the driver; they’re generally happy to help make sure you get off in the right place. 

Required Vaccines For Peru Travel

In addition to the COVID-19 vaccine and routine vaccinations like flu, MMR, and polio, the CDC recommends the following vaccinations for safe travel to Peru :

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Yellow Fever ( for certain areas of Peru outside of Lima )

Tips For Solo Travelers In Lima

Lima is a popular destination for solo travelers in Peru . Follow these simple safety tips and enjoy your time in Lima. 

  • Tell people where you are. Share your itinerary with loved ones before you go ( our Heroes in Peru can make one for you ) and get a data sim card so you can update family and friends during your trip. 
  • Choose daylight. Like many cities around the world, Lima is safer during the day than at night, especially for solo travelers. Plan to do most of your sightseeing during daylight hours and if you do go out in the evening, use private taxis and go in a group if you can.
  • Enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation. Sip on one excellent Pisco Sour ( ask a local where to go ) instead of downing several drinks so you keep your wits about you.
  • Make friends. Stay at a hostel, go on a free walking tour, or book a Peruvian cooking class. There are many ways to meet like-minded travelers who you could explore Lima with.

Is Lima Safe? Yes

Peru’s capital city is a safe and fun destination for travelers of all kinds. Plan ahead, listen to your intuition, and get ready to enjoy the best of Lima, from nightlife to historic sights to lush green spaces. 

The best way to plan ahead? Talk to someone who lives in Lima . They’ll be able to clue you in on the places to go and the places to skip. From where to stay to the best Peruvian food, no one knows Lima like the people who call the city home. 

Before your trip, be sure to check out:

  • Connect With a Local to Plan Your Trip
  • Is Peru Safe? Here’s Everything You Need to Know
  • 15 Incredibly Cool Things To Do in Peru
  • A Guide to Transportation in Peru 2024
  • Peru Travel FAQ 2024


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  • Safety, Security & Travel Advice Series Peru
  • How dangerous is Peru?

How dangerous is Peru?

Peru is a diverse country full of vitality and South American lifestyle which can be visited easily and safely. Most Peruvians are hardworking and honest people who warmly welcome visitors.

However, foreigners should be aware that they are visiting a developing country which has certain safety and security issues. The mere fact that you can allow yourself time off and afford a trip to a faraway country or to just leave your home country and now live nicely in Peru makes you - at least in the eye of the average population - extremely privileged and rich.

So, the risk potential on various levels is surely higher in Peru than back in your home country on the sofa.

Most crimes against foreign visitors and expats in Peru include petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, cheating, fraud, and theft, sporadically as well robbery. You should and can - at least in large part - protect yourself against these offenses with knowledge, proper preparation, and a few simple steps.

Violent crimes against tourists and expats, however, are extremely rare and most are connected to shady businesses and the drug cartels. Other safety risks, that most don’t really think of, include for example earthquakes or diseases.

How dangerous are Lima and other cities in Peru?

Today, the general situation in Lima and other cities in Peru shouldn't be considered worse than in any metropolis are larger city around the globe, where rich and poor live closely together.

There are places and areas you can move around safe and relatively unconcerned, while you better avoid others. And as anywhere in the world extra caution should be taken at crowed places such as busses, bus stations, airports, markets, sights, ... and in areas where mainly rich locals and foreigners spend their time - these are of course popular with crooks as they provide profitable possibilities.

In addition, it is surely advisable to move around more consciously, to listen to your gut feeling more often and have your eyes and ears open.

In the following articles of our "Travel Tips and Safety Advice for Peru" series we put together useful tips and advice relating to every conceivable aspect of your safety and security while traveling or living in Peru.

Our tips and recommendation don’t aim at scaring foreigners, but at enabling you to recognize potentially dangerous situations, and either avoid these beforehand or handle them the best way possible. These of course can’t guarantee complete security and integrity but can raise awareness for the local situation.

Please take your time and read through all articles in this series as they contain very helpful information to ensure your safety while staying in Peru!

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Is Peru safe?

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Welcome to our Peru safety guide.

This iconic nation is full of incredible destinations and things to do, and in our experience is one of the most varied nations you can visit in Latin America.

From hiking dizzying Andean peaks and trekking through the rainforest to exploring ancient ruins and eating some pretty bizarre foods , Peru is a very memorable country to travel through.

Peru Quick Summary:

  • 📍 Where is it: South America
  • 🗺 Difficulty Getting There: Very Easy
  • ⏱ Time needed: 2 Weeks (Minimum)
  • ☀️ Best Time to Visit: September/October

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What's in this guide?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you’ll need to know about Safety in Peru as a backpacker or traveler .

We’ll look at all the different factors, our top safety tips, other useful information as well as an FAQ section where we answer your key questions.

Is Peru Safe Right Now?

Quick Answer: Although political instability seems to be an annual event here, Peru is still a pretty safe country to travel around. This is especially the case in popular destinations such as Arequipa, Cusco , Huaraz and Máncora.

Of course it depends on where you’ll be staying and what you are doing, but in general it’s quite an easy country to travel around safely. Of course Lima (and other cities) have many bad areas, however later we’ll look at the safest areas to stay in as well as some safety tips later in this guide.

Peru Travel Warnings

The main government warnings are for areas along the Peruvian-Colombian border (in the Amazon jungle) as well as in the VRAEM territory which are dangerous mostly due to drug trafficking. However these are far from the tourist paths, and there’s little reason to head to these areas anyway.

When traveling through Peru, the biggest issue will be pickpocketing which is usually targeted towards tourists. This is why it’s important to keep valuables locked back in your apartment, as well as using a Money Belt when traveling between areas.

Assault and other violent crimes can also occur, however they’re rare and would happen far from the historic centres (Plaza de Armas). It’s still wise to prepare as best as you can before heading here, so be sure to read our top safety tips later in this article.

Where to Stay in Peru

Lima – Miraflores is by far the best area, which is more safe and touristy than the historic centre. The Selina Miraflores in our experience is the best hostel you can stay at when in the capital, with both decent dorms and private rooms. There’s also an on-site bar as well as daily organised activities such as surfing and salsa lessons to get involved with.

Cusco – The Plaza de Armas is the best place to be in Cusco. Those looking to keep things cheap will love Kokopelli Hostel , which has a variety of room options, an awesome (included) breakfast as well as a very social and fun atmosphere. If you want a more luxurious experience then we recommend staying at the Hotel San Pedro Plaza , which is right on the Plaza de Armas.

Iquitos – This city can be quite an assault on the senses for first-timers, and in a good way too. The Plaza de Armas is also a nice area to base yourself in before heading out into the jungle. We recommend staying at Camu Camu , which is in a decent area and has wifi (as well as air conditioning in all rooms).

Things to do in Peru

There are literally countless incredible things to do here. There’s a reason George spent most of his time here and now lives in Peru!

The Andes is a breathtaking region to visit, where you can hike some awesome mountains and see some stunning ancient ruins . The best are in Cusco and Huaraz, and in the former you can head on the legendary Inca Trail Trek . You’ll also find many great ancient sites here such as Machu Picchu, Moray Ruins as well as the site of Chavín de Huántar.

If you’re after a scenic yet different kind of landscape, then we’ve also got you covered. Huacachina is a great stop near Lima, which is home to massive dunes that surround this oasis town . You can join this Sandboarding Tour through the desert whilst here. The same goes with the Colca Canyon near Arequipa, which is the second deepest on earth.

Then we have the Amazon Jungle. Covering over a third of the country, it’s home to many incredible species such as Pink River Dolphins, Jaguars, Capybara and Piranhas .

It’s worth heading on this multi-day tour from Iquitos , where you’ll get to see many of these rare animals and have the trip of your life. Other good jumping-off points into the Peruvian Jungle are from Tarapoto and Puerto Maldonado.

Is Lima Safe to visit?

Below we’ll take a look at the current safety situation in Lima.

Crime in Lima

From personal experience, Lima definitely feels safer in its touristy areas when compared with other South American capitals (such as Quito and Bogotá). However crime still occurs daily, especially in areas in the centre and the north of the city (like Callao and the Historic Centre).

This is usually theft or sometimes assault, and is mostly between locals although there have been incidents involving tourists. This is why it’s always important to research where you’re going before, and make any necessary precautions too.

In areas like Miraflores crime is much lower, although pickpocketing can still be an issue along the less touristy streets . If heading to the beach or out at night, it’s wise to leave valuables locked away safe in your apartment.

According to data collected by Numbeo, Lima scored 70.70 on the crime index (0 being the safest whilst 100 the most dangerous). For reference, Quito scored 61.98 whilst Mexico City scored 67.95.

We suggest learning some Spanish before arriving here so you can get inside safety tips from the locals while here. See this handy Spanish phrase book to assist you along the way.

What parts of Lima are safe?

The safest areas for tourists to head to in Lima are Miraflores, San Isidro and Barranco .

Not only are they the most built-up and are used to accommodating tourists (lots of nice hotels, restaurants and other amenities here), however they also have a more secure feel too.

Even walking around in the streets you’ll feel it’s different here, especially once you start making day trips to the historic centre or other areas.

Lima Safety at Night

Again, areas like Miraflores and Barranco feel very safe at night, and it’s fine to walk alone (just try to avoid looking lost as we always say).

You’ll want to use increased caution if heading outside of these areas, and avoid entirely going to places like Callao which are pretty dangerous .

When heading out to bars or nightclubs, just be careful in the historic centre given pickpocketing can occur (it’s especially infamous in La Casona).

Be sure to read our Lima Safety Guide for more tips on how to travel around the Peruvian capital safely.

7 Safety Tips for Peru

Below we will list 7 of our top safety tips for when heading to Peru.

1. Stay near the Plaza de Armas

Something that we echoed in this traveling Peru post, the Plaza de Armas are almost always the best areas for a stay in Peruvian cities and towns. Given there’s lots of tourist destinations and amenities like hotels and restaurants, there’s added safety presence which makes it a lot safer. The only exception is Lima, where you’re best in either Miraflores or Barranco .

2. Check Tour Reviews before Committing

In 90%+ of instances this won’t be an issue, especially when heading to Machu Picchu or any other popular region. However in other circumstances (such as hiking tours) you’ll want to check their reputation as well as attitude towards following safety protocols. Those looking to hike Colca Canyon will be in good hands with this multi-day tour .

3. Use Uber and InDriver

Of course not all taxis that are hailed from the streets are going to rob you, however this is more of a risk in Peru (especially if arriving late at night or to an unfamiliar part of the city). We highly recommend using both Uber and InDriver, which are safer and also have less chance of you being ripped off .

4. Padlock your Bags when Traveling on Buses

Call us paranoid, however we’ve had very little issues when it comes to having been robbed. This is mostly from proactive safety habits, and this one is very useful for travel in Peru. Given many buses will be long and often overnight , it’s wise to lock up bags whilst you get some much needed rest. If you will sleep, then try to put a limb through a strap so the whole thing isn’t stolen either! We recommend using this secure Padlock .

5. Do not Drink Tap Water

Similarly to other countries such as Mexico, drinking the local water is an absolute no-no. Unless you’re in a five-star hotel, it’s most likely not treated and could have parasites or other nasties lurking around. Much better to buy big, sealed bottles of water and refill from there. If heading on a longer jungle or mountain hike, you can also carry a filtered water bottle like this one and drink from pretty much any source.

6. Take out a Solid Travel Insurance Policy

Travel insurance is important, especially before heading to Peru, given you’ll want to be covered the day you arrive. Whilst most travel in Latin America is pretty adventurous, Peru is known for its incredible range of experiences. This is why it’s vitally important to take out a solid travel insurance policy to cover you in event of any mishaps. This also includes coverage if your phone or other personal items get damaged or stolen.

7. Prepare Well for Each Destination

Peru is a really varied region, and it’s important to prepare accordingly to where you’re going. Heading to a high-altitude area like Cusco or Puno? Buy Coca Leaves and take it easy the first 48 hours . How about the Amazon Jungle? Then you’ll need lots of mosquito repellent and a good quality poncho . Even little things like these can make your overall experience much more enjoyable and smooth.

Peru Safety FAQ Guide:

Here we’ll take a look at the most frequent questions we get asked by our readers about safety in Peru.

Is Peru safe for American tourists?

Absolutely, as long as you prepare properly and get to know the best destinations to travel to. Most cities have safe areas to base yourself in, and then it’s just a case of following our safety tips above and you’ll have a both safe and fun time here.

Is Peru safe to travel alone?

George can speak from solid experience here, and feels it’s one of the best countries for solo travelers. Aside from having a really social scene (especially in the south of the country), it’s also quite safe to travel alone. As long as you keep your guard raised when in a new place (especially in the bus terminals) then you’ll highly unlikely have any issues here.

Is Cusco safe?

The historic centre of Cusco is one of the safest of its kinds here in Peru. Aside from numerous street vendors consistently haggling, the culture and feel here is much safer compared with that of say Lima. See our guide on travel safety in Cusco and just be careful when crossing the roads here (check three times), since driving in Peru is pretty wild to say the least!

Best time to visit Peru?

Got travel insurance for peru.

world nomads insurance

Is Peru safe? Final Words

And that’s all for our guide on how to stay safe in Peru. This incredible nation is full of unforgettable experiences. From exploring the Amazon Jungle to standing above the clouds in the Andes , there’s plenty of bucket list things to see and do here.

Peru is also a relatively safe country to visit. Whilst first-timers will need to get accustomed (follow our safety tips in this article), those with more experience can arrive and hit the ground running here. It’s still important to keep your guard raised when somewhere new, and to look out for any local advisories for where you’re heading.

In this guide, we’ve explored the current safety situation in Peru , which includes the areas to avoid, as well as any current travel advisories. As well as looking at the best things to do in Peru, we’ve also included our FAQ which answers your most burning questions.

While you’re still here, be sure to read our Peru Itinerary for more tips and travel inspiration.

👉🏽 P.S. If you’ve found this guide helpful, buy us a coffee here to say thanks! Or, support us by downloading our South America Travel Bible to get our best content.

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Is Peru Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report


  • Peru : Safety by City

Peru is a country in South America, located on the western side of that continent, encompassing a part of the Andes mountain belt that runs the length of South America, and facing the South Pacific Ocean.

Peru shares its borders with Ecuador and Colombia to the north, Brazil, and Bolivia to the east and Chile to the south.

What makes this country stand out among all the other countries in the world are its unsurpassed cultural diversity and history.

The archaeological heritage of pre-Columbian cultures and the nexus of the ancient Inca’s empire attract the true adventure lovers to this country.

Peru’s history will leave you in awe as will its colonial architecture and the gorgeous landscapes that vary from region to region.

Peru is also brimming with wildlife and what kind of wildlife it is! It has 84 of the earth’s 104 known life zones, which makes this country home to such rare creatures as pink dolphins, primates, jaguars, giant river otters and as many as 4,000 types of butterflies.

  • Warnings & Dangers in Peru


Overall, Peru is somewhat safe to visit, though it has many dangers and is ridden with crime. You should be aware that tourist hotspots and public transportation are places where most thefts and pickpocketing occur, and that violent crime exists on the streets, too.


Transportation mostly safe and reliable but you should be very careful about public transport and buses as you might end up being robbed. Always call a reliable taxi instead of hailing one on the streets.


Pickpockets are a serious concern in Peru, as is the violent crime and you should exercise caution and keep your money and your valuables elsewhere, like in hidden pockets of your clothes and never ever keep all of your money in the same place.


When it comes to natural disasters, there is a risk of landslides and flooding. This usually happens during heavy rains and often causes public transportation to suddenly stop. Peru also has some volcanic activities, and the volcanoes Ubinas and Sabancaya have been known to erupt: recently, it has happened in 2016.


There is also the issue of violent crime, muggings, "express kidnappings" where people are taken and driven from one ATM to another until they withdraw all their money from their account. Then there are "struggle muggings" in Cusco, Arequipa, and Lima during which tourists are put in a chokehold from behind and stolen from while unconscious. Be very, very careful when in Peru, avoid poorly lit and deserted areas and remain vigilant everywhere else.


The risks of terrorist attacks in Peru are low, but since there's a chance that areas in the Southern Highlands such as San Martin, Huanuco, Pasco, Junin, Ucayali, Huancavelica, Ayacucho and Apurimac might shelter members of the Shining Path terrorist group, attacks shouldn't be ruled out. It is important that you remain vigilant at all times.


There is a high risk of getting scammed in Peru. Be wary of people lurking around ATMs or anyone trying to distract you. Taxi drivers might try to trick you into paying more, giving you wrongful information about the price of the ride.


Many women have traveled to Peru alone and had nothing but a great time. However, this country isn't the safest in terms of females traveling solo since there have been reports of women being attacked or shamed, so be careful, especially at night and apply precaution measures at all times and avoid dark and empty streets and locations.

  • So... How Safe Is Peru Really?

Even though it has largely improved, crime in Peru is a serious issue which makes Peru relatively unsafe.

The greatest problem in this country is poverty, and where there’s poverty, there’s also petty theft.

The main tactic of pickpockets is making up various ways to distract tourists, like an old woman spilling something on you, falling in front of you, or dropping something in front of your feet.

Then someone else cuts your bag open with a razor, or simply swoop and grab your entire bag and you’re left penniless.

Then there’s the issue of “express kidnappings” during which tourists are held hostage and driven around the city from one ATM to another until they withdraw all their money.

Sometimes they are released quickly and sometimes they’re held captive until the account is positively emptied.

But petty crime is not the only thing to fear in Peru.

The Sacsayhuaman ruins overlooking Cusco are notorious for muggings.

If you plan on visiting them during sunset or sunrise because of the gorgeous view they offer, keep in mind that this is when the local banditos operate here.

Always make sure you’re in a group when visiting these ruins.

  • How Does Peru Compare?
  • Useful Information

Most countries do not need a visa in order to enter Peru. Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months past your date of departure from Peru. Keep in mind that your stamp is valid for 30 days, though the real limit is for 180. In this case, just explain to the immigration officials that you need more than 30 days and show them your return ticket. You may even get a so-called Tarjeta Andina de Migración, which you will have to return upon your exit from Peru. If you are not sure about your visa status, visit www.doyouneedvisa.com which will let you know whether or not you need a visa based on your nationality and the country you want to visit.

Sol is the official currency in Peru, but many places accept US dollars. ATMs are available in nearly every city and town in Peru, as well as major establishments. You are advised to exchange money in exchange offices as they often give a slightly better rate than banks.

Due to Peru's diverse geography, the weather varies from region to region. When it's warm on the coast, it can be extremely cold in the mountains while the weather can be completely different in the jungle areas. In return, winter lasts from June to September on the coastal regions, during which time the mountainous areas are sunny and warm, though still cold at night. This is, for the most part, the best time to visit most regions.

Jorge Chávez International Airport is Peru's main international and domestic airport. It is located in Callao, 11 km from Lima, Peru's capital.

Travel Insurance

Just like anywhere else, we advise getting travel insurance when traveling to Peru, because it would cover not only medical problems but also theft and loss of valuables.

Peru Weather Averages (Temperatures)

  • Average High/Low Temperature

Peru - Safety by City

Explore peru.

  • 11 Best Beaches In Peru
  • Where to Next?


53 Reviews on Peru


Article showing crime is on high rate.. You are saying safest place


Peru is safe

I have been to Peru and I have to say this article is bull. It says Peru is not safe but when I went there the locals were such nice people and greeted me warmly. The only thing I will say is true is pickpockets, you need to look out for those. I highly recommend going to Peru as it is beautiful

naw, maybe it’s bc u don’t visit peru too often, as someone who has lived there for most of my life i’d say this article is a little too soft lmao

no place is safe honey <3 maybe if you like…went to the most common places Peruvian people visited you'd know

I moved to Peru and lived here for 3 years in 2007 to 2010 and returned to live in Peru in 2018 and am here still in June 2021 with no intention to leave. Peru is safe but the one point I is the use of taxis in Lima. I was robbed at gun point by the driver and 2 assistants he had hidden in the trunk. I was clobbered with the gun,,,they took my wallet my money my glasses my watch stuck hands where hands should not go in case i was hiding anything and there me out on a high way miles from home. I had used street taxis always there are many of them …but I learned when they quote a deal of a price for the prospective ride “get ready to be robbed”

Sounds pretty safe…lol

The concept of safety from this article is from 20 years ago, nowdays Peru has improved tremendously public security, there are surveillance cameras everywhere and tourism feels safer when walking streets, overall Peru is a great destination to visit.

Crime exist everywhere including the so called developed countries. There is no paradise on earth.A great number of people have bias and make parrots comments.One professor of mine said “IGNORANCE IS VERY DARING”,what a wonderful dictum.

“There is no paradise on earth.”

He said nothing like this. He said that crime levels had improved and it was a great place to visit.

Come to certain countries in Europe and you would see what a really nice and peaceful country looks like. Peru is probably great compared to the Congo and South Sudan, but that’s hardly an accomplishment.


Get off your high and mighty horse there. Have you ever even been to Peru? Also, if you don’t like it so much, why are you reading and commenting on this article? I’ve been to many countries in Europe (Germany, Switzerland, Greece, Montenegro, Italy, and Spain), but Peru feels more personal and like a home to me.

Same Peru is where my family is from it’s my culture and it hurts when people judge it without ever going to Peru!!!!

I lived in Peru for 20 years and while living there was attacked and almost killed by Tupac Amarus. It was an attack on our mining community in 1971, and those Maoist terrorists took hostages. When you’re 11 years old and having to fight with a sawed off shotgun it makes you wonder! I’d go back and live in Peru in a heartbeat. Love the people, the food, the pachamancas, the culture, but most of all, the high Andes where I lived. Insurrection and violence are the spice of life! My brothers were born there, all of my childhood memories are of Peru!

I live in Europe and it is boring, Peru has great culture and a wonder of the world, Machuu Pichuu so shuush

LOL This man lives in fantasy land, crime is common in any big city. Peru is a lovely and tranquil place. Whoever wrote about terrorism being a risk must have no idea about Peru. First, the country is huge and terrorism was eradicated in the late 90s. I am looking at tours to go visit again friends. Culturally, Police in the streets is for people’s peace of mind not a sign of terror.

Beautiful country

This article is pretty biased. American friends were atonished to find so much security , policemen everywhere. We have nothing like that in the UK! The country relies on tourism and they are well aware of this, so you do feel safe. I am British and felt pretty safe but I am also street savvy and like I would do in any big city , did not wear or carry anything that would provoke people to mug me. That was it ! We had a wonderful time. Enjoy Peru!

Horrid experience

A couple friends went there in August this year, they took a taxi from airport to hotel. Two thugs jumped into the taxi demanded the driver took them to remote area where they were mugged. 5 hours driven around from ATM to ATM afterward, the thugs let them go but without physical serious punched and slapped. The couple was dropped off in remote area at night, in the dark. They later went to police station, nothing the police could do to help.

That wasn’t really your experience though, was it.

what difference does it make. this is the second poster saying such a thing. being kidnapped for hours in UK or US is unheard of. if you stay out of the bad neighborhoods there is no problem. and stay out our schools too… you might get shot up there.

Unheard in the US? You may have never come to the US. You cannot buy a guy in Peru. Unless is a toy one.

That could easily happen anywhere, not just Peru and Peru is much better than visiting England


Great information, very helpful!

It’s a wonderful and safe place to visit in a group.

Lima is a wonderful city to visit. Miraflores is very safe to stay and walk around. Other places are safer to go accompanied and not be out alone at night. Pick pocketing is present, so be aware. The food is delicious. People in general are friendly. Only take a taxi that is recommended by your hotel concierge. Do not take a random taxi, especially at night from the airport to your hotel. It’s safest to travel in a group or reliable tour guide.

I am from Peru. I left 21 yrs ago, I thank God everyday for that. For locals, its a daily nightmare. I went back. But at this point you can offer me a million dollars, I will never go back. Yes, they try to protect tourists. And still is even more dangerous dirty smelly and high in crime and scam than ever. Is a very expensive place, no reason for that…because most people are very poor there. Just ask about the presidents of the last 30 yrs… who were them, where they are and what they did… start there… One more corrupt and criminal than the other. Some in jail, runaways, searched by interpol, and goes on and on and on… As a Peruvian, I would recomend, go to The Netherlands, go to Israel, go to Switzerland. So many places where you dont have to walk in fear every step

Ur ignorant to think of peru like that peru is a beplace to visit u just have to go to the right places we are happy we dont have people like you any more

But you didn’t experience what she did, did you….

I think you are not Peruvian, I have lived there and it is VERY cheap and I think you are also stupid as Israel is a very dangerous place and Peru is a great place, Israel is basically a war zone

Lol You are right. “She” isn’t Peruvian. She just said she is so It looks worse for Peru.

okay bestie, then go to peru and live in a common area where common peruvian people live in <3 i want you to tell me the same thing once something bad happens to you 🙂

yall can't say nothing if u haven't at least spend 4+ years there

why r yall getting mad lmfao, different people have different experiences + with all that’s going on now? i’d say she is right, peru is not safe and even tho i can’t agree that the other places she said are safe *because i wasn’t born there nor visited* i can for sure say that peru is not as “safe”. We’re talking about ALL of Peru, not some rich places foreigners go to when they occasionally visit, maybe if u had to spend all ur childhood being warned of rapists and robbers u would AT LEAST try to understand her.

Peru is still a beautiful place to visit.

I am Peruvian, have lived in so many places in the world. 4 years ago, after 16 years, my husband and I went to Peru. My husband had never been in Peru. Yes I can not deny that there has been lots of changes, a bit surprised with the traffic, drivers do not respect the driving regulations. We arrived to Lima, I had family waiting for us, so it was safe to take a taxi with them. We decided to visit Cuzco, we invited a cousin to come along with us. Cuzco was beautiful, wonderful weather, great food, good hotels, until we got to Aguas Calientes , our hotel was cheap, not so clean place, we tried to get a better hotel, but they were all full, so we stayed one night in the hotel. We visited Machu Pichu, it was the greatest adventure to all of us, we came back down to Aguas Calients and took the train back to Ollantaytambo, we stayed in a bed and breakfast “La Casa de La Chola”, we had first class meals and bed to rest, it was beautiful, great service. From there we took a taxi for $30US dollars back to Cuzco, the taxi driver was very good and knowledgeable that he took us to lovely places to enjoy, We arrived at 12:30 direct to the airport, back to Lima, as we waited for our flight for almost two hours, the flight was canceled, no one had information for us, people got upset, did not make sense, at the end we realize the plane to Lima was waiting for more passengers to fill their plane, but did not communicate, we arrived Lima at 8:30 PM, the following day we were going to the central part of Peru for 5 days to visit with family. One thing I can say is that when you go to Peru, do not take anything expensive, always have change, always go in group or with someone, do not adventure alone. I was glad I had family and friends in Lima. Many talks about Miraflores, if you have enough money, it is the best place to stay, otherwise you can stay in central Lima, or other places for cheaper, just use common sense, and you can still have great places to visit and foods to eat, and have fun, besides there are other beautiful places to visit in the North, south, or Central Peru, you will find that people welcomes tourists with gladness, also as tourists lets be kind, give a good tip, talk with them, learn few Quechua, or Spanish words, and you will see how people responds to you.

thanks for the help! me and my 20 year old kids are planning on going next month



Could you recommend your guide? If so contact information please. Want to go but would rather have someone that is local and can do translation. Just want to do the ancient archeological sites.

Peru is always a good time!

As a Spaniard, I was very surprised with Peru’s measures to ensure safety to both tourists and locals! But even overall being a much, much safer county than many others in Latin America, there are some places where you don’t want to be! Lima and Callao: thankfully the most beautiful and historic places are highly safe to visit; however, some slums surrounding Lima and in downtown Callao are as dangerous as Detroit or Chicago. Also, while being in Lima Metro area, you might consider not to put your windows down while in the taxi. Pickpocketing might occur when your window’s down. And if you’re a female solo traveler, please don’t go alone in the middle of the night and always call a reliable taxi company (Satelital and Taxi Verde are the best!), for obvious reasons. The North (Chiclayo, Trujillo, Piura, Máncora): This is my fav region in Peru so far, you really must give it a try! The best food in whole Peru, amazing beaches, warm weather, friendly people, incredibly archeological sites, eco-friendly tourism. And it’s pretty safe too! For what I’ve learned from female solo travelers there, it is the safest region in Peru for being female (take all the precautions, but you can feel way less paranoic). Beware of the scams in Máncora concerning crossing the border to Ecuador; if you wanna go up north, always buy directly from the bus company (CIFA), not “agencies”. The Andean South (Cuzco, Puno, Arequipa): The most touristy region of Peru. It’s also the safest (ladies, beware of your cocktails while dancing in a disco down there, for obvious reasons!) because of all the police in the area. Pickpocketing in Cuzco is a thing, so be careful of your belongings. There’s a city nearby Puno called Juliaca very famous for its high crime rates, so avoid it. Apply common sense, and you are ready to go! The Jungle/Eastern Peru (Tarapoto, Iquitos, Pucallpa): if you love nature and partying, this is your place! Imagine if they put the American South and Thailand in a blender: that’s the Peruvian jungle. Hot, humid, breath-taking landscape, the cheapest place to drink a cold beer and enjoy those little things in life, and lots of party! But you wanna take your precautions. Pickpocketing is common, also major crimes like kidnapping may occur if you expose yourself too much (these cities are not the right place to be drunk by yourself at 4 AM). In Iquitos and Tarapoto a lot of drugs are commercialized in the clubs, please avoid interacting with those people. Finally, be careful when riding mototaxis: if the unit is too old you might be involved in a traffic accident. Bonus: the Peruvian Jungle, unlike the American South or Thailand, is very LGBTQ+ friendly. If you belong to that community, you can feel at home, as locals are very open-minded and lots of LGBTQ+ discos and bars exist in the area. In both Tarapoto and Iquitos I saw same-sex couples holding hands and nobody seemed to care; that’s not common in Latin America, and I’m sure a lot of travelers may appreciate this.

Amazing time!

I’m from Africa,but are love Peru so much and also the football team.I hope to vist Peru in the future.

Homicide rate in Peru is about 7-8/100000, compare to Europe about 1/100000 or USA 5/100000. Of course, few travelers are targeted.

Noise level – I’m from Finland originally and now living in Peru. I find the noise in Peru at times unbearable. High volume music played everywhere, traffic, cars honking their horns, car alarms going off all over the place through the night. Houses are built for the tropics so no isolation because of the climate, often no window panes, so no sound proofing either. Pray to god you aren’t staying near a church (non-catholic) because their services can be extremely noisy.

No heating and no warm water. Low quality building standards – I could always flush the toilet at home with confidence, in Peru when nature calls i have to bring a stick to make sure everything is sufficiently smashed up before flushing to not clog the toilet. Patience with the electric wall sockets – you have to adjust the plugs to find the spot where they connect, you don’t just plug them in, and them tread carefully not to dislodge them.

Food – in theory very varied, but in practice the typical peruvian food is chicken, rice and potatoes. Few vegetables, it’s a carnivorous country. A lot of salt, a lot of sugar. As a traveller with funds you can of course go after the variety that most peruvians can’t.

Towns are ugly outside the colonial center. The shabby look is partly a result of people not finishing their houses. They want a 2-storey house but really have funds for 1 only, so they build the first floor and hope to complete the house sometime later…Rich people live behind walls and electric fences – unimaginable in Northern Europe.

Peru is a lot nicer to visit than to actually live in. Some commenters say “use common sense”. Common sense may look very different for one who comes from a country where the police don’t carry firearms to one who comes from a place where they carry assault rifles.

You are right on PTS. And with the country being locked down for 7 months thing are not very pretty. My wife is peruviana and she fears going out even in daytime. Decent housing is the same as you would pay in the States. Produce is less but most meats are more costly. I don’t go out very often so it doesn’t matter but I’m still not allowed on the street because of my age. I fear things will be very dangerous if the country doesn’t open soon.

Bruh Peru is safe but avoid the dangerous areas.

Being aware in Lima

People who believe everything is safe probably are only visiting Miraflores, San Borja, La Punta, Surco in Lima. I had the opportunity to live three months in San Juan Lurigancho in 2019. I observed pick pocketing, a car chase down a person running and kidnap an individual, fights between others. I had someone try and take my wallet on the train. I know another Peruvian/American couple that was completely robbed from their taxi and all their luggage and money taken after leaving the airport in Callao and stopped inside the tunnel. My wife tells me Peru hasn’t been this bad but now you have all the Venezuelans moving into the country and that is changing everything. You really have to be aware of your surroundings people.

Peru is NOT a safe country. They are reckless drivers, accidents abound – you cannot be transported stress-free anywhere. The police is corrupt. Sanitation is terrible – you cant drink tap water, its common to find large mounds of rubbish in the streets, cholera is common and you cant throw toilet paper into the toilet. Slums are everywhere. If you go to tourist locations you should be OK, and people are very nice. But dont stray from the beaten path or take a cab or you are liable to get robbed or kidnapped.

A long way from the UK?

Ive been drinking tap water for months and never had issues. Not throwing paper in the toilet is normal anywhere in Latin America. Theres mounds of trash in every city unless you’re in Europe. Don’t pull out your phone or dress expensively and you’ll be fine even in poor areas

A down to earth view

Been here for months. Touristy areas like Miraflores and San isidro in Lima are safe as kittens. Areas like Chorillos, San juan de Miraflores, SJ de lurigancho aren’t safe. Use common sense and you’ll most likely be fine in both. Been living with a Peruvian family so I’ve been everywhere in the city. If you can’t speak spainish you should probably stick to more touristy areas

The Streets

As My Wife and I prepare to go to Peru soon. We will be diligent and STREET SMART. It’s rough there like other countries but you CAN NOT LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. We walk the streets at night. Criminals sense your Fear. Be Strong and Sure

Peru is worth it!

Peru is relatively safe,

I am from northern Europe and ofc northern Europe is safer.

Peru reminds me a lot of the US in terms of safety, large pockets are completely safe at all hours of the day, but if you venture into the wrong district of Lima you will quickly realize it’s time to turn back.

I have spent approximately 2 months in Peru and travelled around and i have not experienced any crime towards me, so you can safely go to Peru on vacation. I have gone to small towns around Peru, and to the worst neighborhoods of Lima, still i have not been targeted.

Dress modestly (dont show off you brand new Rolex), be relaxed and dont worry.

Favorite Vacation

Just returned from Peru and Ecuador. Vacationed for three weeks. Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu , Quito and Galápagos Islands. Both Countries are very safe. We never felt uneasy. The people are very friendly. We travel Internationally often. I would highly recommend traveling to Peru or Ecuador. Both are beautiful countries. Great food and amazing history and beauty.

I took my daughters 16 &18 for a month trip on the Amazon. Arrived three days early and stayed at the Marriott in Lima. We had a blast walking around the public everyday. Still don’t think we saw everything. Also saw a large ancient excavation near the downtown area, sure it’s finished by now. Never had or saw a problem except around the presidential palace. First time I ever saw tanks on a civilian road. It was a great visit. And the casino in the hotel lobby was a special treat, as was the local purchased Cuban cigars.

Peru is Incredible!

I had an excellent experience in Peru on my Inca Trail trip. I stuck to Miraflores in Lima, then I spent free time in Cusco Sacred Valley and went to Puno after. I never had a single issue on my travels, even as a single traveler! I suppose everyone’s experience is different…..Hope this helps! Claire

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Article Contents

  • Overall Risk
  • Transport & Taxis Risk
  • Pickpockets Risk
  • Natural Disasters Risk
  • Mugging Risk
  • Terrorism Risk
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Home » South America » Travel Safety

Is Peru Safe for Travel? (2024• Insider Tips)

With landscapes ranging from towering mountains all the way to dense rainforest, Peru is definitely an  amazing place to visit.  Couple it with colonial heritage as well as the Inca ruins of  Machu Picchu  and you have yourself one hell of a destination.

But the country is not devoid of perils. Corrupt politicians, severe weather, dangerous animals, sketchy mountain roads, insurgent groups and drug traffickers are rife; all of this may rightly have you wondering, “Is Peru safe?”

Your concern is totally understandable. To help you ease your worries, I have created this epic insider’s guide. It’s complete with the top tips of  how to stay safe in Peru.  We’re all about travelling smart at The Broke Backpacker, so I want to help you out with some major pointers that’ll keep your trip trouble-free.

There’s a whole lot of ground to cover. This includes whether or not it’s safe to travel to Peru right now (there are some political issues currently underway), whether it’s safe for a family trip, and even if it’s safe to drive. Peru is a growingly complex country so there will lots more besides these.

You may be a first-time solo traveller worried about a solo trip to Peru. Maybe you’ve heard how amazing the cuisine is and you’re wondering if the food in Peru is safe. You may just be anxious about Peru in general.

Don’t worry. This insider guide has you covered; vamos.

There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, as things change quickly. The question of “Is Peru Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on who you ask.

The information in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practice common sense, you will probably have a wonderful and safe trip to Peru.

If you see any outdated information, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. Otherwise, stay safe friends!

Updated December 2023

lima peru tourist safety

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Is Peru Safe to Visit Right Now?

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5,275,000 international visitors were welcomed in Peru last 2019, according to the data gathered from the World Bank. Tourists had a generally positive stay.

Peru is definitely a popular stomping ground on the South American backpacking trail. Who doesn’t want to see  Machu Picchu,  right?

Because of all the totally cool things you can see, do and visit here,  tourism is big news.  Adventure tourism, beaches, history and a big helping of  eco-tourism  make it a perfect destination for everybody.

That doesn’t mean it’s not without its issues, though.  Crime happens, as it does everywhere, but in Peru, you’ll likely be targeted BECAUSE you’re a tourist. Visitors are often seen as wealthy.

Theft, mugging, pickpocketing in crowded places, as well as corruption (from the police to even tour agents), make it a potentially scary place to visit. So do drug trafficking gangs –  and political demonstrations that turn violent.

Travelling smart is going to increase your chances of staying safe. Not looking like a complete tourist will help you NOT be a target of street crime. Being careful of your surroundings is also going to pay off too – literally.

But you still might want to pick when you travel wisely. The rainy season in Peru can be devastating.  We’re talking floods, power outages and landslides. All are pretty unsafe if you ask me. Try not to travel between November and April.

Aside from the politics of Peru, it’s pretty much as safe a time as any to visit.  Visiting Lima , in particular, has become a lot safer in recent years – it used to see a higher proportion of the country’s overall crime rate.

Check out our detailed  where to stay guide for Peru  so you can start your trip right!

Peru Travel

When choosing where to stay in Peru, a bit of research and caution is essential. You don’t want to end up in a sketchy area and ruin your trip. To help you out, I’ve listed the safest areas to visit in Peru below.

Arequipa is one of the safest places in Peru. It offers a laid-back alternative to Lima and Cusco, making it a great spot for families. Whilst caution should be taken everywhere in Peru, Arequipa has a safer atmosphere, letting you relax a little bit more.

Often considered a smaller Lima, Chiclayo benefits from the great nightlife and culinary scene associated with Peru’s metropolitan areas without the stifling crowds. This easily makes it one of the coolest AND safest places to stay in the country!

Peru really is just one big adventure destination – but I love Huancayo for the off-the-beaten-path feel! As a relatively unknown destination, Huancayo is also inexpensive and safe – making it a great option for adventurous budget travellers backpacking through Peru.

Places to Avoid in Peru

Unfortunately, not all places in Peru are safe . You need to be careful and aware of your surroundings pretty much anywhere you go in the world, and the same goes for visiting Peru. To help you out, I’ve listed a couple of no-go or caution areas below: 

  • Sacsayhuaman ruins – this area is known for muggings after dark. Avoid walking outside at night! 
  • Huallaga Valley – Cocaine is still being produced here… a real no-brainer to stay away from.
  • Lima (at least certain parts) – while I personally don’t think that Lima’s safety is as much of a big deal as everyone seems to claim, it does pay off to be more careful when visiting the city.

Keeping Your Money Safe in Peru

One of the most common things to happen to you whilst travelling is losing your money. And let’s face it: the most annoying way for this to actually occur is when it’s stolen from you.

Petty crime is pretty much a problem all over the world.

The best solution? Get a money belt.

Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt  except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

lima peru tourist safety

Many tourists visit Peru and have a trouble-free time! It’s all about being aware of your surroundings, we’d say. But to get into more detail here’s a round-up of the best travel tips for staying safe in Peru.

  • Don’t wear flashy clothes, accessories or jewellery  – looking rich is going to make you a target.
  • Try not to look lost  – even if you are! Looking like a tourist is also going to make you a target…
  • Wandering around at night is a no-no  – ESPECIALLY by yourself, ESPECIALLY in a major cities.
  • Be aware of techniques used by thieves .
  • Stick to well-trodden routes if you’re near the Ecuadorian border  – because of landmines.
  • Learn some local lingo  – that’s Spanish, of course.
  • Use ATMs during the day… preferably INSIDE a bank  – these are hotspots for muggings.
  • Always keep an emergency stash of cash – Never keep all your cards/ currency in one place. And hide it all from thieves with a hidden money belt .
  • Only drink what you buy and watch it when you’re out  – drink spiking happens.
  • Be careful with  ayahuasca  ceremonies   – proceed with caution.
  • Stay away from protests and demonstrations  – these can get ugly.
  • If someone wants your money, give it to them  – in the event of a mugging, just hand it over.
  • Be vigilant in the main coca growing regions  – steer well clear.
  • Don’t trek by yourself  – having a buddy is 10x better.
  • Pick a good, well-reviewed tour agent  -it’s not worth saving money on bad, unsafe trips.
  • Take a good medical kit with you – you never know when you might need it!
  • Watch the news  – politics can change, a natural disaster may happen; it’s best to know!

Backpackers relaxing on cuzco main square while local lady pass by.

All it takes to be secure is a little bit of good judgment, some research, some caution and general attention paid to what’s going on around you. Case closed.

You’ll be pleased to know that Peru is safe to travel alone . It’s actually quite popular.

Don’t worry, as long as you travel smart you’re going to love solo travelling here! Here are my top tips for solo travellers in Peru…

  • Make friends ! Lima, Pisco, Arequipa, Cusco   – you’ll find ample opportunities at these places in the local hostels and meet some awesome people to travel with. Safety in numbers, folks.
  • Plan, plan, plan , and plan some more. If you’re worried about traveling by yourself, or the safety of anywhere you’re going, the best way to stay safe is to PLAN.
  • Being open-minded is a good way to travel solo, albeit with an air of caution, of course. But being closed up and keeping yourself to yourself isn’t what solo travel is about.
  • Learning   some Spanish  will open up the country to you. Not only is learning a new language fun, but it goes down well with the locals too.
  • It’s important also to just be alert to what’s going on around you. Like, someone could suddenly fall over in front of you, or drop something, or try to give you something – chances are these sorts of things will involve a  scam. 
  • Pay attention to   government warnings . Check weather and heightened crime warnings in the area.
  • Don’t walk around at night . This is never a good idea!
  • Never leave food or drink unattended. NO ONE is safe from spiking. Yes boys, even you.
  • Check out reviews for hostels . The  best hostels in Peru aren’t always the cheapest option.

Being open to meeting new people but listening to your gut is probably going to make your trip not only safe but also one you’ll likely never forget!

Travelling solo is one thing, but travelling solo as a FEMALE is a whole other ball game. Unfortunately, there’s always going to be more to consider when you’re travelling alone as a woman.

However, Peru is pretty much safe for solo female travellers , as long as you keep these safety tips in mind.

  • Don’t walk around by yourself at night , especially in Lima.  Around the world, women by themselves are targets –  particularly at night . Just don’t do it.
  • Get yourself a local or travel sim card .  This is ALWAYS a good idea. Let people know things!
  • Stay at well-reviewed hostels in Peru . Make sure reviews mention it’s good for solo travellers  and check to see if they have female-only dorms at that rate. Remember that a hostel is basically just a genuinely great place to meet new people.
  • Machismo is part of Peruvian culture.  Street harassment in Peru does happen. Usually in the form of catcalling. Also, women in Peru don’t usually go out to bars, so just bear in mind that because you’re breaking the norms of Peruvian society you’ll get some attention from locals.
  • When catcalling does happen,  ignore it. 
  • There are no set ‘rules’ on what to wear to not get attention, but the less revealing, the better.
  • Think up ways to curb sexual advances. You’re “ married, ” for example.
  • Be careful about giving out your information. No matter how friendly they may seem, the risk is real.
  • Stock up on sanitary products.  Guess what? You won’t be able to find those out in the sticks.

snowy mountains in peru

While there’s the very real issue of chauvinism, which can be intimidating at times, all-in-all Peru is still safe for solo female travellers. Peruvian society, in general, will be protective of females travelling by themselves. Plenty of women backpack through Peru without issue.

peru - Arequipa

Arequipa is a safe, affordable and laid back place in Peru that fits every traveller’s need. Attractions and adventures can be found inside and outside of the White City.

Peru is an  amazing place to travel with children.  That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be safe, but plenty of families DO make the trip to this fascinating country and love it.

That said, it’s probably a better place to visit with older children who can appreciate the historical sights. Trekking around in the mountains is going to be HARD on little legs, and even harder on you if you plan on carrying them. Take the Machu Picchu hike for example – it’s definitely worth the visit, however, it’ll require quite a bit of fitness.

To help limit stress and keep the whole family happy, consider the following tips, which are catered specifically for managing children.

  • Peru can get hot!  Exposure to the heat is going to be something you’ll have to consider.
  • Altitude sickness  can be a mortal problem and it’s really NOT recommended to take  children under 3 years of age  to higher elevations. You need to treat altitude sickness seriously.
  • In the Peruvian jungle,  yellow fever  is a risk. Really small children, we’re talking under 9 months, shouldn’t travel here at all (since the yellow fever vaccine isn’t given until children are over this age).
  • Malaria  is also a danger, but you can take precautions against this.
  • DON’T let your children pet any street dogs, or go near them, for that matter. This is NOT safe!
  • Staying at an upmarket resort is usually safer and helps to limit a lot of the aforementioned problems.

a stray dog sitting near a bush in peru

If you’re here for adventure and you want your children to share it, then I’d say Peru is safe to travel for families. Ultimately, it’ll be safer and LESS stressful the older they are, maybe 7 years and upwards.

In Peruvian culture, family, and especially children, is very important. Needless to say, this is going to help you get to know locals all that much easier and make your time even more enjoyable in Peru.

There are many ways of travelling around Peru, but some are safer/easier than others.

Is Driving in Peru Safe?

Whilst you CAN hire a car and use it in the main cities, I wouldn’t.

The rainy season can cause landslides and flooding making roads completely inaccessible. Oh, and did I mention corrupt police stops? They happen, a lot.

The short answer is:  no.  Driving in Peru is not safe.

Are Taxis/Uber in Peru Safe?

All real taxis in Peru have a taxi sign on top of the car. Look at the license plate too .  It should be all white with a yellow bar on the top.

Before you even get in the taxi, agree on a price .  Haggling is okay, so go for it. In conclusion, taxis in Peru are safe so long as you take the necessary precautions.

Uber’s available in Lima .  That’s it. Is uber safe in Peru? Yeah, but not great.

They’re often more expensive than taxis and the cars they use are pretty shabby too. Better choices would be alternative rideshare apps like  Cabify .

Public Transportation in Peru

I wouldn’t say that buses in Peru are safe. Sometimes, however, bus travel is unavoidable if you want to get where you’re going.

City buses are the  main mode of public transport  for most urban locals. There are also many  long-distance buses . Make sure to do your research on these – seriously – as  accidents happen often. 

There are also trains in Peru. These follow high-altitude tracks and are  pretty cool and fairly safe. The main routes are  Cusco to Machu Picchu, Cusco to Puno,  and in the north,  Lima to Huancayo. 

Cycling in Peru

Cycling and bikepacking in Peru is actually quite safe – and popular too! Bike lanes ( ciclovias ) exist in some popular tourist areas in Lima.

Are taxis safe in Peru

So there you have it. Taxis aren’t the safest, but the best option in my opinion. Beats walking, I guess.

The US Travel Advisory for Peru suggests exercising increased caution when visiting Peru (Level 2). It says on the site that crime in Peru, petty crime and theft, carjackings and some violent crimes such as assault are common in Peru.

Whilst this is true, it’s important to remember that tourists are seldom a target of violent crime. Petty theft and scams in Peru are what you should be watching out for.

Of course, it goes without saying that crime in Peru increases at night time. So if you’re worried, don’t go wandering after nightfall, ESPECIALLY if you’re under the influence.

I am personally from the UK, so I like to use the UK GOV site to check safety measures when travelling. No matter where you are from, I would recommend using many different country’s sites to get a good idea of what you can expect.

The UK GOV site for Peru suggests that following laws in Peru is extremely important. Especially regarding drug laws! Another top tip is to always carry an ID with you .

It’s important to do your own research before visiting Peru AND to keep up to date with the current situation whilst in Peru. Check with the Peruvian government and local authorities on crime statistics, monitor local media, and seek local advice. If you are exposed to crime in Peru, contact local police.

If you’re planning on heading to Peru for an ayahuasca trip, be very f*kin careful.

Travelers having a flower bath in ayahuasca retreat.

Everyone’s packing list is going to look a little different, but here are a few things I would never want to travel to Peru without…


Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Gifts for backpackers

A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.

Yesim eSIM

Yesim stands as a premier eSIM service provider, catering specifically to the mobile internet needs of travellers.


Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Pacsafe belt

This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

Before you set off, get some good travel insurance . It’s pretty much a no-brainer in the modern day.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

lima peru tourist safety

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

So, how dangerous is Peru? Well, here are some quick answers to common questions about certain aspects of safety in Peru.

What is the most dangerous city in Peru?

Statistically, Lima is the most dangerous city in Peru. The crime rate is relatively high, however, most crimes only target locals. The safest cities in Peru are Lima and Cusco. Obviously, that sounds odd as the safest and most dangerous city is Lima, but it depends on where in the city you are.

Is it safe to go to Machu Picchu?

Apart from the heat and high altitude, visiting the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu is pretty safe. It’s best to find a reliable guide if you’re planning on hitting the hiking trail. Take loads of water and snacks with you to stay energized.

Can you drink the water in Peru?

Nope. Don’t drink it. No ice cubes, no nothing .  The safest bet is always to get bottled water.  However, you can boil water to purify it – a couple of minutes will suffice. Take note that, due to atmospheric pressure, water takes longer to boil at higher altitudes. DRINK INCA KOLA INSTEAD 😉

Is Peru safe for American tourists?

Yes, of course. SO many American tourists visit Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail every year. I also get the question “Is Peru safe for tourists?” Peru is safe for the majority of tourists to visit. Make sure to check your country’s travel advice, so for US Nationals, check the up-to-date info on the US Travel Advisory site for travel safety information.

Is Peru safe to live in?

Yes, it’s safe to live in Peru, and indeed, loads of backpackers and budding professionals do so. If you love the landscapes, the food and the people, then it’s probably going to be a dreamy destination  for you. You’ll often be seen as a  gringo, that is,  rich.  Being targeted for scams is common.

Yes, I’d say Peru can be very safe – IF you’ve done your research and keep our travel safety tips in mind. If you go out looking for trouble in Peru, you’ll definitely find it. However, it can also be avoided very easily.

The best way to stay safe in Peru is to simply travel smartly. If you listened to me, then you will be able to dodge the shay taxi drivers, the thieves, the gang violence, the political unrest, all of it.

By covering your own back and having the proper security nets in place, you will be able to enjoy backpacking in Peru even more enjoyable. Just keep hydrated, don’t push yourself, meet good people, and have fun.

lima peru tourist safety

Looking for more info on traveling to Peru?

  • Let me help you choose where to stay in Peru
  • Plan the rest of your trip with our fantastic backpacking Peru travel guide!
  • Get inspired by these EPIC bucket list adventures !
  • See exactly how to travel the world for a year , even if you’re broke
  • Take a look at my expert travel safety tips learned from 15+ years on the road

Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!

lima peru tourist safety

Ankita Kumar

Is Peru Safe Pinterest Image

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lima peru tourist safety

Corrupt politicians, severe weather, dangerous animals, sketchy mountain roads, insurgent groups, drug traffickers; all of this may rightly have you wondering, “is Peru safe?” Sounds like USA to me! I feel safer here than most US cities. Just don’t look or act like a tourist. Don’t carry anything in your back pockets. Snatching cellphones from your hand is a sport here so if you must use one be careful.

Congrats on your topic above! I ‘m traveling to Peru alone on the 15th of August and I have to say that I got more information that I needed from your text than anything else I have searched throughout the internet! Thanks and keep up the good work!

Amazing Feeback, very helpfull!

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Mexico tightens travel rules on Peruvians in a show of visa diplomacy to slow migration to US

Peruvian Julia Paredes, left in white hat, listens to instructions from a Border Patrol agent with others seeking asylum as they wait to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Peruvian Julia Paredes, left in white hat, listens to instructions from a Border Patrol agent with others seeking asylum as they wait to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Julia Paredes, right, of Peru, gets a hug from volunteer Karen Parker, after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

A Border Patrol agent instructs a group of people seeking asylum, including Peruvians, as they are transported for processing after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

People seeking asylum walk through a field of wildflowers as they wait to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Peruvian Julia Paredes, center in white hat, listens to instructions from a Border Patrol agent with others seeking asylum as they wait to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Men seeking asylum, including Peruvians, line up as they wait to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

People seeking asylum keep warm near a fire as they wait to be processed, after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

People seeking asylum, including a group from Peru, walk behind a Border Patrol agent towards a van to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country. The move follows identical ones for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians, effectively eliminating the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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BOULEVARD, Calif. (AP) — Julia Paredes believed her move to the United States might be now or never. Mexico was days from requiring visas for Peruvian visitors. If she didn’t act quickly, she would have to make a far more perilous, surreptitious journey over land to settle with her sister in Dallas.

Mexico began requiring visas for Peruvians on Monday in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country, after identical moves for Venezuelans, Ecuadorians and Brazilians. It effectively eliminated the option of flying to a Mexican city near the U.S. border, as Paredes, 45, did just before it was too late.

“I had to treat it as a emergency,” said Paredes, who worked serving lunch to miners in Arequipa, Peru, and borrowed money to fly to Mexico’s Tijuana, across from San Diego. Last month smugglers guided her through a remote opening in the border wall to a dirt lot in California, where she and about 100 migrants from around the world shivered over campfires after a morning drizzle and waited for overwhelmed Border Patrol agents to drive them to a station for processing.

Senior U.S. officials, speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting of top diplomats from about 20 countries in the Western hemisphere this week in Guatemala, applauded Mexico’s crackdown on air travel from Peru and called visa requirements an important tool to jointly confront illegal migration.

lima peru tourist safety

For critics, shutting down air travel only encourages more dangerous choices. Illegal migration by Venezuelans plummeted after Mexico imposed visa requirements in January 2022, but the lull was short-lived. Last year Venezuelans made up nearly two-thirds of the record-high 520,000 migrants who walked through the Darien Gap, the notorious jungle spanning parts of Panama and Colombia.

More than 25,000 Chinese traversed the Darien last year. They generally fly to Ecuador, a country known for few travel restrictions, and cross the U.S. border illegally in San Diego to seek asylum. With an immigration court backlog topping 3 million cases, it takes years to decide such claims, during which time people can obtain work permits and establish roots.

“People are going to come no matter what,” said Miguel Yaranga, 22, who flew from Lima, Peru’s capital, to Tijuana and was released by the Border Patrol Sunday at a San Diego bus stop. He had orders to appear in immigration court in New York in February 2025, which puzzled him because he said he told agents he would settle with his sister on the other side of the country, in Bakersfield, California.

Jeremy MacGillivray, deputy chief of the Mexico mission of the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration, predicts that Peruvian migration will drop “at least at the beginning” and bounce back as people shift to walking through the Darien Gap and to Central America and Mexico.

Mexico said last month that it would require visas for Peruvians for the first time since 2012 in response to a “substantial increase” in illegal migration. Large-scale Peruvian migration to Mexico began in 2022; Peruvians were stopped in the country an average of 2,160 times a month from January to March of this year, up from a monthly average of 544 times for all of 2023.

Peruvians also began showing up at the U.S. border in 2022. The U.S. Border Patrol arrested Peruvians an average of about 5,300 times a month last year before falling to a monthly average of 3,400 from January through March, amid a broad immigration crackdown by Mexico .

Peru immediately reciprocated Mexico’s visa requirement but changed course after a backlash from the country’s tourism industry. Peru noted in its reversal that it is part of a regional economic bloc that includes Mexico, Chile and Colombia.

Adam Isacson, an analyst at the Washington Office on Latin America, said Peru’s membership with Mexico in the Pacific Alliance allowed its citizens visa-free travel longer than other countries.

It is unclear if Colombia, also a major source of migration , will be next, but Isacson said Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is in a “lovefest” with his Colombian counterpart, Gustavo Petro, while his relations with Peru’s government are more strained.

Colombians are consistently near the top nationalities of migrants arriving at Tijuana’s airport. Many find hotels before a guide takes them to boulder-strewn mountains east of the city, where they cross through openings in the border wall and then walk toward dirt lots that the Border Patrol has identified as waiting stations.

Bryan Ramírez, 25, of Colombia, reached U.S. soil with his girlfriend last month, only two days after leaving Bogota for Cancun, Mexico, and continuing on another flight to Tijuana. He waited alongside others overnight for Border Patrol agents to pick him up as cold rain and high winds whipped over the crackle of high-voltage power lines.

The group waiting near Boulevard, a small, loosely defined rural town, included several Peruvians who said they came for economic opportunity and to escape violence and political crises.

Peruvians can still avoid the Darien jungle by flying to El Salvador, which introduced visa-free travel for them in December in reciprocation for a similar move by Peru’s government. But they would still have to travel over land through Mexico, where many are robbed or kidnapped.

Ecuadoreans, who have needed visas to enter Mexico since September 2021, can also fly to El Salvador, but not all do. Oscar Palacios, 42, said he walked through Darien because he couldn’t afford to fly.

Palacios, who left his wife and year-old child in Ecuador with plans to support them financially from the U.S., said it took him two weeks to travel from his home near the violent city of Esmeralda to Mexico’s border with Guatemala. It then took him two months to cross Mexico because immigration authorities turned him around three times and bused him back to the southern part of the country. He said he was robbed repeatedly.

Palacios finally reached Tijuana and, after three nights in a hotel, crossed into the U.S. A Border Patrol agent spotted him with migrants from Turkey and Brazil and drove them to the dirt lot to wait for a van or bus to take them to a station for processing. Looking back on the journey, Palacios said he would rather cross Darien Gap 100 times than Mexico even once.

Associated Press writer Christopher Sherman in Mexico City contributed.

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  1. Peru Travel Advisory

    If you decide to travel to Peru: Be aware of your surroundings. Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans as needed. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ... Surco, Lima 33 Peru. Telephone + (51) (1) 618-2000. Emergency + (51) (1) 618-2000. Fax + (51) (1) 618-2724. Email. [email protected]. Website.

  2. Security Alert: Travel Advisory

    Please be advised that the Department of State has changed the Travel Advisory level for Peru from "Level 3, Reconsider Travel," to "Level 2, Exercise Increased Caution" due to crime and civil unrest. ... U.S. Embassy Lima, Peru Avenida La Encalada cdra. 17 s/n Santiago de Surco 15023, Lima +51-1-618-2000 [email protected] https: ...

  3. Is Lima Safe? 17 Best Things To Know And Lima Safety Tips

    Is Lima safe? If you're paying attention to the news of protests and riots, you might be wondering about the overall safety of Lima, Peru. The U.S. Department of State currently has a Level 3 Travel Advisory: Reconsider Travel for Peru. This was most recently updated on December 22nd, 2022, due to civil unrest and the U.S. government restrictions on personnel.

  4. Everything you need to know before visiting Lima

    8. Follow big-city safety precautions to avoid theft in Lima. Lima is a fairly safe destination for tourists when it comes to serious crime - but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to walk around town at dusk with your camera or a shiny new phone on display. As with any large city, opportunistic crime, especially theft, is prevalent in Lima.

  5. Is Lima Safe for Travel RIGHT NOW? (2024 Safety Rating)

    OVERALL RISK: MEDIUM. When it comes to crime level in Lima, there is not much violent crime, but standard safety precautions are recommended due to the existence of petty crime. You need to protect your valuables, even in nice tourist areas. Some areas of Lima are safer than others, so visitors should stay out of these dangerous areas.

  6. Is Peru Safe to Visit? (Updated 2024)

    Here are some tips to help you plan and prepare for a safe visit to Peru: 1. Avoid displaying any expensive belongings - Keep your jewelry out of sight (or even leave it at home). Don't flaunt valuables. Be especially aware of taking out your phone, as phone theft is rampant ( over 4,000 phones are reported stolen every day ).

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    Tourist police. Peruvian rebels and conflict. Video: Learn about Inca culture in Peru. 1. Petty crime in Peru. The threat of violent crime in most of Peru is no greater than in many of the world's major cities. Traveling around Peru is relatively safe, and the Shining Path Maoist rebel group has been largely disbanded.

  8. Peru Crime & Safety Report

    Peru Crime & Safety Report Details of the current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for Peru 2021 . Tintin. Updated May 12, 2022 . ... Lima Tourism Police Command Post: 460-1060 Tourism: 423-3500 (North Downtown Police) Police Stations in Lima. San Isidro: 441-0222 Orrantia: 264-1932

  9. Safety and security

    stay in a safe place. follow the instructions of army or police officers. take the advice of local authorities or tour operators. monitor local media, including social media channels. be wary of ...

  10. Lima Safety: Am I Safe to Travel to Lima, Peru in 2024?

    Planning a trip to Lima raises safety concerns. As Peru's vibrant capital, it blends history with modernity, but, like any city, faces safety issues. Tobi Miles. March 31, 2024. Understanding Lima's safety landscape is crucial for a worry-free visit. The city's safety can vary greatly depending on the area and time of day.

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    Street Address Calle Bolognesi 228, Miraflores, Lima 15074, Peru Postal Address P.O. Box 18-1126, Miraflores Post Office, Lima, 15074, ... Avoid non-essential travel. Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of ...

  12. Is Lima Safe for Tourists? What You Need To Know!

    Lima's historic centre is also a popular spot with tourists and backpackers. During the day the area is safe from violent crime but pickpocketing and petty theft is common. After dark though, the area can take a turn. On all sides, Centro Histórico is surrounded by rough barrios and crime can easily spill in from these.

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    Yes, Peru is safe. This Andean country boasts a rugged, yet beautiful landscape, and is very family oriented. From the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Lima to lunching in a sky dome secured to a cliff above the Sacred Valley, many amazing sights and adventures await you. Do explore the ruins of Machu Picchu, colorful markets, and superb colonial ...

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    3. Check 3 Times before Crossing Roads. As we mentioned in our Cusco safety guide, driving in Peru isn't the most advanced. And in Lima it gets worse, where impatience often causes accidents. Make sure to triple-check even before crossing on a green pedestrian light (George got clipped by a taxi that then sped off). 4.

  15. Is Peru Safe? What to Know about Peru Safety for Tourists

    Yes, it is safe to visit Peru as a solo female traveler. We even have a guide dedicated to women traveling solo. Peru is a great destination for solo women travelers. Just take the same precautions you would at any other popular tourist destination. Image: By Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash.

  16. Is It Safe to Travel to Peru After the September 2023 State of

    Scott Laird | September 26, 2023. Destinations South America Peru News. Creators Brand/Unsplash. The Peruvian government last week declared a state of emergency in three districts due to an ...

  17. Is Lima Safe For Travel? Here's What To Know

    Photo by Jhordy Rojas on Unsplash Common Scams To Know In Lima. Just like in any city, scammers exist in Lima. Keep these safety tips in mind as you explore Lima and the rest of Peru:. Look out for pickpockets: Keep your phone use while out on the street minimal. Having your phone out all the time (or flashing other expensive items) makes you an attractive target for pickpockets.

  18. How dangerous is Peru?

    Most crimes against foreign visitors and expats in Peru include petty crimes such as pick-pocketing, cheating, fraud, and theft, sporadically as well robbery. You should and can - at least in large part - protect yourself against these offenses with knowledge, proper preparation, and a few simple steps. Violent crimes against tourists and ...

  19. Is Lima, Peru Safe to Visit in 2024?

    No. Lima is not the safest place to visit, especially in 2023. The city has high rates of crime, including violent crime, which often affects tourists. Recent protests are gripping the country as well. Although most of the civil unrest is concentrated in the south, protests can and will erupt in Lima as well.

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    If heading to the beach or out at night, it's wise to leave valuables locked away safe in your apartment. According to data collected by Numbeo, Lima scored 70.70 on the crime index (0 being the safest whilst 100 the most dangerous). For reference, Quito scored 61.98 whilst Mexico City scored 67.95.

  21. Is Peru Safe for Travel RIGHT NOW? (2024 Safety Rating)

    Written by Travel Safe Team. Share. 473. Review. 53. Safety Index: 50 * Based on Research & Crime Data. User Sentiment: 78 * Rated 78 / 100 based on 52 user reviews. Peru : Safety by City. ... MIRAFLORES,LIMA -PERU., IS THE MOST SAFE PLACE ALSO BY NIGHT., MORE SAFE THAN EUROPE AT NIGHT….IN ALL THE DISTRICT ARE 24 HOURS POLICE AND PRIVATE ...

  22. Is Peru Safe? (2024 Safety Guide)

    5,275,000 international visitors were welcomed in Peru last 2019, according to the data gathered from the World Bank. Tourists had a generally positive stay. Peru is definitely a popular stomping ground on the South American backpacking trail. Who doesn't want to see Machu Picchu, right? Because of all the totally cool things you can see, do and visit here, tourism is big news.

  23. Mexico tightens travel rules on Peruvians in a show of visa diplomacy

    1 of 8 | . Peruvian Julia Paredes, left in white hat, listens to instructions from a Border Patrol agent with others seeking asylum as they wait to be processed after crossing the border with Mexico nearby, Thursday, April 25, 2024, in Boulevard, Calif. Mexico has begun requiring visas for Peruvians in response to a major influx of migrants from the South American country.